Culturally Affiliated Human Remains

Nome Eskimo and Chinik Eskimo Communities visit Colorado Historical Society

Courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society.

Museums and Federal agencies are required to develop a list of the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects that are reasonably culturally affiliated with a present-day Indian Tribe or Native Hawaiian organization.

How is cultural affiliation established?

After consulting with Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations, museums and Federal agencies must evaluate all available information to determine cultural affiliation. The information may include anthropological, archeological, or biological evidence, folkloric references, geographical location, historical data, kinship ties, linguistic connection, oral traditions, other relevant information, or expert opinion. Although cultural affiliation may not be clearly identified in the available information, a museum or Federal agency may identify Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations who are "likely to be culturally affiliated" with human remains and associated funerary objects based on the totality of circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the human remains and associated funerary objects.

How are culturally affiliated inventories reported?

The Inventories Database lists Native American human remains that have been identified as culturally affiliated. The database summarizes the inventory information submitted by museums and Federal agencies and is not meant to be an exact copy of their inventory. Changes, updates, or new inventories of culturally affiliated human remains should be sent to the National NAGPRA Program.

How are culturally affiliated human remains returned?
Museums and Federal agencies must consult with Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations prior to completing their inventories and must publish notices of inventory completion for all culturally affiliated human remains. Following the publication of a notice, Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations listed in the notice may request repatriation of the culturally affiliated human remains. Repatriation requests may occur at any time after publication of a notice and prior to repatriation.

Last updated: July 19, 2021