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Headlines Archives


January-December 2008

May 2008: NEW Grants Coordinator

Sangita Chari has joined the National NAGPRA Program as the grants coordinator. She received her MA in Anthropology from the University of Florida. Ms. Chari brings extensive grants experience and prior knowledge of NAGPRA. Most recently, she worked at the National Building Museum where she managed over $1 million in grants. Prior to that she worked as a grants administrator for the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta and Atlanta Women's Foundation. She has also served as a reviewer for the Corporation for National Service, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Department of Health and Human Services. You can contact her at (202) 354-2203 or

June 2008: Clarification of Notices Published in the Federal Register: NATHPO/Makah Study

On June 30, the NATHPO/Makah study of Federal Agency compliance was completed and posted on the NATHPO website. While there is much useful information in the study, there is a discussion of "withdrawn notices" that may be of concern to all NAGPRA constituents. In fact, the National NAGPRA Program does not withdraw notices. Notices published in the Federal Register reflect the decisions of museums and Federal agencies and establish rights of tribes to request human remains and cultural items. As reported previously to the Review Committee and noted on this page, by 2004 there were approximately 300 drafts submitted to National NAGPRA from 1996-2000, which had not been authorized for publication as a notice by the originating Federal agency or museum. Over the last four years, the National NAGPRA Program notice coordinator has worked with the originators to move the notices to publication or withdraw them and cure any deficiencies in the notice, such as failure to consult with tribes prior to publication. The backlog of old drafts is now less than 40. Many of the withdrawn drafts have returned as published notices of inventory completion, or as dispositions of culturally unidentifiable human remains. The Review Committee was concerned that holding old drafts would give the impression that compliance had been achieved, when only publication of a notice resolves compliance with the law. We hope that any confusion created by the statements in the NATHPO/Makah study have not caused concern with the ongoing NAGPRA process.

August 2008: NAGPRA Review Committee: Designated Federal Officer

The Designated Federal Officer (DFO) is the person appointed to staff the NAGPRA Review Committee. The DFO receives requests to place items on the agenda for upcoming meetings and can answer questions on dispute procedures and the process for requesting a recommendation from the Review Committee to the Secretary of the Interior for a disposition of "culturally unidentifiable" Native American human remains. Beginning in June, the DFO to the NAGPRA Review Committee is David Tarler, (202) 354-2108. The dates for submission of items to the DFO for the meeting in October 2008, remain unchanged. Look for a new template for submitting a disposition agreement to the Review Committee, to assist in submissions due by August 8.

October 2008: News from the National NAGPRA Program

The National NAGPRA Program team appreciates your interest in the NAGPRA process and the work of the Program. Much is going on in the Program as this short memo will show. As of the end of October 2008, the first month of FY2009, the Program reports the following:

-The National NAGPRA Program Year End Report for FY 2008, has been posted to the website. This report has several expanded sections with facts and graphs.

-As of October 31, 2008, 33 NAGPRA notices were published in the new year, 4 of which were older drafts. New notice submissions are ahead of last year.

-The grant deadlines for FY2009 have been posted. Postcards are going out to tribes and museums and advertisements are being posted. The grants coordinator will receive draft grant proposals through December 31, for assistance in writing strong final proposals. Proposals are due March 2, 2009.

-Enhancements to technical search capabilities of Program records are proceeding, with new capabilities added every two weeks. It is now possible for tribes to request a search for all museums and Federal agencies that list a tribe in their summary or inventory. The Program has had numerous requests for this data from tribes, over the years, seeking to complete their records.

-Using the new search capabilities, intern Katherine Maas, under the direction of Sangita Chari and Mariah Soriano, is completing a report on compliance of all museums and Federal agencies with the publication of notices for Native American human remains listed as culturally affiliated in their inventories. Further studies are planned, which will look at total holdings and dispositions of human remains in collections, affiliated or unidentified.

-Ms. Chari has also begun a retrospective of the grants program from its beginning in 1994. The result will be a full report to the Review Committee.

-The next Review Committee meeting has been set for May 23-24, at the Red Lion Hotel on 5 th, in downtown Seattle, Washington. Notice will be published shortly on dates for submission of agenda items at that meeting.

-The next Program sponsored NAGPRA training will be on May 22, at the Red Lion Hotel. A registration form will shortly be posted on-line.

-The first specialized training on grants will be offered on May 20-21, in downtown Seattle. The NPI website will shortly have more details on registration. This training will be offered twice in 2009. The instructors will be Jan Berstein and Sangita Chari.

-Work is proceeding on the NAGPRA video project. Filming is scheduled for completion at the Review Committee meeting in May.

-The Program has received numerous calls on the progress of the CUI regulations, 43 CFR 10.11, which are under review at the Department.

November 2008: A CALL FOR INTERVIEW VOLUNTEERS AND MATERIALS! The National NAGPRA Video Teaching Project

The National NAGPRA office is embarking on a new project to produce a series of teaching/training videos. Our goal is to make NAGPRA compliance understandable and straightforward, and to showcase its benefits. We also want to provide examples of “best practices” that have been employed in carrying out the requirements of the law. The videos will include grant-writing tips, first-person narratives, statistical data, anecdotal information, and in-depth, engaging coverage of the entirety of the law and its consequences. They will be geared primarily toward native communities, museums (including institutions of higher learning and state governments), and Federal agencies. There will be twelve videos, each with a projected length of 45 min.-1hr. The videos will cover the following subjects:

  • Contextualizing NAGPRA
  • NAGPRA Terms Clarified
  • Collections and Repatriation: A Primer
  • New Discoveries and Disposition: A Primer
  • Determining Cultural Affiliation and Resolving Claims
  • Consultation
  • Notices: The Process
  • The NAGPRA Review Committee and its Responsibilities
  • NAGPRA Grants
  • NAGPRA Civil Enforcement
  • NAGPRA Criminal Enforcement
  • NAGPRA: How Far Have We Come?

We are looking for volunteers to be interviewed for the series! We are also actively seeking existing video recordings of NAGPRA-related activities (such as consultation documentation, repatriation videos, celebration footage, and ceremonial footage, as appropriate). In addition, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with NAGPRA grant recipients and document their grant activities.

Plus , we would like to know if there is anything additional that you think should be included in these videos. The point person for this effort is S. Margaret Spivey. Below is her contact information. If you have any questions, comments, videos, or other materials, or if you would like to be interviewed, please contact us!

S. Margaret Spivey
telephone: (202) 354-2207
fax: (202) 371-5197

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