The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of 1990 requires that museums and federal agencies return certain cultural items to lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations. NAGPRA also describes the process that museums and agencies must go through to return those items. In addition, federal agencies must plan for situations where such items might be excavated from federal land and deal with accidental discoveries of such items on federal land.

As a federal agency that manages public land and cares for public collections that contain objects that are subject to NAGPRA (Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony), the National Park Service must comply with this law. The Park NAGPRA program helps parks and offices across the United States meet NAGPRA’s requirements.

Last updated: February 18, 2016