The Law

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 became law on November 16, 1990 (Pub.L. 101-601; 25 U.S.C. 3001-3013;104 Stat. 3048-3058).

What did Congress intend by passing NAGPRA?

Congress issued two reports before passing NAGPRA that give an in-depth view of the legislative intent behind the law.

US House Report 101-877 [Oct. 15, 1990]
US Senate Report 101-473 [Sep. 26, 1990]

Has Congress amended NAGPRA?

No. Congress has not amended the law since 1990. Congress has held hearings on the implementation of the law.

May 10, 1993 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing, S. Hrg 103-198
Dec. 6, 1995 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing, S. Hrg 104-356
Jun. 10, 1998 House Resources Committee H.R. 2893
June 10, 1998 House Report on NAGPRA
Apr. 20, 1999 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing
Jul. 25, 2000 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing
Sep. 9, 2002 Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding S. 2598, S. Hrg 107-258
Nov. 10, 2004 Indian Affairs Committee regarding S. 2843, S. Hrg 108-406
Dec. 8, 2004 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing, S. Hrg 108-768
May 12, 2005 Indian Affairs Committee regarding S. 536, S. Hrg 109-67
Jul. 28, 2005 Indian Affairs Committee Oversight Hearing, S. 536, S. Hrg 109-297
October 7, 2009 Resources Committee Oversight Hearing, Serial No. 111-38
June 16, 2011 Committee On Indian Affairs Hearing, S. Hrg 112-157

Has Congress taken any other action on NAGPRA?

Yes. In 2010, Congress requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examine the law and issue a report. In 2018, Congress requested the GAO examine trafficking of Native American cultural items and report its findings.

GAO-10-768: Published Jul 28, 2010
NATIVE AMERICAN GRAVES PROTECTION AND REPATRIATION ACT: After Almost 20 Years, Key Federal Agencies Still Have Not Fully Complied with the Act

Department of the Interior Response to GAO September 2010

Department of the Interior Report to Congress September 2011

GAO-18-537: Published August 6, 2018
NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURAL PROPERTY: Additional Agency Actions Needed to Assist Tribes with Repatriating Items from Overseas Auctions

Last updated: April 13, 2020

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