Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Compliance
NAGPRA is a Federal law, passed in 1990, that requires museums and Federal agencies to offer for repatriation certain Native American cultural items — human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony ("NAGPRA materials") - to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. All Federal agencies and all public and private museums that receive Federal funds, other than the Smithsonian Institution, are subject to NAGPRA. Museums and Federal agencies are required to identify and inventory NAGPRA materials under their possession or control in consultation with the appropriate Native American tribes to establish the affiliation of these materials. Once identified and affiliated, museums and Federal agencies are required to send notices to the Native American tribes describing the NAGPRA materials and cultural affiliation, and stating that these materials may be repatriated. The law requires that the Secretary of the Interior publish these notices in the Federal Register.
The ACF originally possessed 97 collections subject to NAGPRA. Of these collections, 23 have been repatriated, reburied, or returned to the controlling agency. The remaining 74 collections are from 47 archaeological sites from throughout the Bay Area. Inventories of all of the collections under the possession and control of ACF have been submitted for publication in the Federal Register.
ACF sees the NAGPRA process as a chance to initiate and strengthen relationships with the Native American community, with the goal of paving the way for mutually beneficial research opportunities in the future. It is ACF policy to send the affiliated tribe a copy of the NAGPRA notice in the Federal Register as soon as it is published to ensure that the tribe is aware of their right to claim their materials. Until such time as the tribes are ready to claim their NAGPRA materials the ACF holds these collections in trust. This means that no research is allowed on the collections except with written permission from the tribe.