FAQs

What is NAGPRA?
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013, 43 CFR Part 10 was passed on November 16, 1990, to resolve the disposition of Native American cultural items and human remains under the control of Federal agencies and institutions that receive Federal funding ("museums"), as well as the ownership or control of cultural items and human remains discovered on Federal or tribal lands after November 16, 1990. The statute and regulations outline the rights and responsibilities of lineal descendants, Indian tribes (to include Alaska Native villages), Native Hawaiian organizations, Federal agencies, and museums under the Act, and provide procedures for complying with NAGPRA. Depending on the category of cultural item in question and its cultural affiliation, NAGPRA provides lineal descendants (regardless of whether or not they are Native American), Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) a process for transfer to them of cultural items.

Who must comply with NAGPRA?
Those entities having control of NAGPRA cultural items: Federal agencies (excluding the Smithsonian Institution, which operates under a parallel law) Institutions that receive Federal funds (including, but not limited to, museums, colleges and universities, state or local agencies and their subdivisions)

What are cultural items?
As defined in NAGPRA [25 USC 3001 (3)], cultural items are: Human remains: physical remains of a Native American Funerary objects: placed near individual human remains as part of a death rite or ceremony Sacred objects: needed for the modern-day practice of traditional Native American religions Cultural patrimony: group-owned objects having ongoing importance to the group.

What is cultural affiliation?
Cultural affiliation, as defined in NAGPRA [25 USC 3001 (2)], is a relationship of shared group identity that may be reasonably traced historically or prehistorically between a present-day Indian tribe or NHO and an identifiable earlier group.\\nWhat are NAGPRA Collections? \\nCultural items that are in the possession of or under the control of a museum or Federal agency. These organizations are required to compile a summary or inventory of the cultural items in their collections and consult with Indian tribes and NHOs to identify the geographical and cultural affiliation of the items.

What are NAGPRA Collections?
Cultural items that are in the possession of or under the control of a museum or Federal agency. These organizations are required to compile a summary or inventory of the cultural items in their collections and consult with Indian tribes and NHOs to identify the geographical and cultural affiliation of the items.

What funding is available to help with the NAGPRA process?
Section 10 of NAGPRA authorizes competitively selected grants to museums, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to assist in consultation, documentation, and repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural items. There are two types of NAGPRA grants available: Consultation/ Documentation Grants and Repatriation Grants.

Last updated: July 29, 2015