Notices

NAGPRA Collections review by members of The Osage Nation

Courtesy of The Osage Nation.

NAGPRA requires museums and Federal agencies to give public notice prior to repatriating or transferring human remains or cultural items to Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. The type of notice required depends on the type of item being repatriated or transferred.

What notices are required?

On Federal lands after November 16, 1990, a Notice of Intended Disposition is published when a Federal agency has identified the appropriate person or group with priority for disposition of the cultural items.

For holdings or collections of human remains and associated funerary objects, a Notice of Inventory Completion is published when a museum or Federal agency determines human remains are culturally affiliated or offers to transfer human remains that are not culturally affiliated.

For holdings or collections of unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony, a Notice of Intent to Repatriate is published when a request for repatriation is received and accepted.

What must be done?

Federal agencies and museums must draft a notice for publication prior to repatriating or transferring any cultural item. Notice templates are available for each kind of notice and depend upon the type of cultural item being repatriated or transferred.

Notices of Inventory Completion for human remains and Notices of Intent to Repatriate for cultural items must be sent to the National NAGPRA Program who publishes them in the Federal Register.

Notices of Intended Disposition are published by Federal agencies in newspapers of general circulation near the Federal lands from which the cultural items were removed.

Following the publication of a notice, Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations listed in the notice may request or claim the items in the notice. Other Indian Tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations not listed in the notice may also request or claim the items in the notice. Museums and Federal agencies must consider all requests received prior to repatriation or transfer and must determine the most appropriate requestor.

What if something changes after publication?

If certain facts in a published notice change prior to the repatriation or transfer of the cultural items, the museum or Federal agency must draft a correction notice. Correction Notice templates are available for each kind of notice. Correction notices are used to change:

  • the number of human remains,

  • the number of associated funerary objects,
  • the number of other cultural items, or
  • the cultural affiliation determination.

If repatriation or transfer of the cultural items in the original notice has already occurred, the museum or Federal agency should treat any additional cultural items as a new collection and draft a new notice.

Last updated: April 8, 2020

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