Native American Graves Protection
and Repatriation Act


The United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) Tribal Historic Preservation Committee and NATHPO are convening a two-day NAGPRA training to be held October 28-29, 2013, at UAIC's Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln, California. THPOs and Tribal, government, or museum agency representatives are welcome to attend, however space is limited. We encourage you to forward this invitation to any agency representatives who you feel would benefit from additional NAGPRA training. The first day focuses on basic NAGPRA training. The second day focuses on current NAGPRA litigation and hands-on practice.

Click here for the more information

Click here for the Training Agenda
Click here for the Registration Form


NATHPO Comments on Proposed NAGPRA Regulations Rulemaking

Click here for a copy of NATHPO's comment on the proposed revisions to the NAGPRA regulations. Of particular note is the Department's change to the Authority section of the NAGPRA regulations even though the Federal Register notice states that the proposed rulemaking is limited to minor inaccuracies or inconsistencies. See NATHPO letter for full explanation. Click here for a link to the Federal Register notice (comments due Monday, June 18, 2012):



NATHPO Testimony for Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

On June 16, 2011, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on NAGPRA and other repatriation laws.  Click here for webcast to watch the hearing and to read the witnesses' written testimony.

Click here to read NATHPO's written testimony for the hearing record.


REPATRIATION ACT: After Almost 20 Years, Key Federal Agencies Still Have Not Fully Complied with the Act."

Almost 20 years after NAGPRA, key federal agencies still have not fully complied with the act for their historical collections acquired on or before NAGPRA's enactment. GAO examined NAGPRA implementation in detail for eight
key federal agencies with significant historical collections: Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and NPS; Agriculture's U.S. Forest Service; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps); and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

click here to read NATHPO press release on this report

click here to read report

GAO Report, "Smithsonian Institution: Much Work Still Needed to Identify and Repatriate
Indian Human Remains and Objects"

More than 21 years ago, repatriation provisions of the National Museum of
American Indian Act of 1989 generally requires the Smithsonian Institution
(SI) to inventory and identify the origins of its Indian human remains and
objects placed with them and repatriate them to culturally affiliated Indian
tribes upon request. This report, which was publicly released on May 25,
2011, lists four executive recommendations for the SI's Board of Regents'
consideration. Click here to read the NATHPO press release on this report. To read the 65-page report you can click on this link: or click here to read report Acrobat


12th Annual NATHPO Meeting Training Session

On Monday, August 9, 2010, NATHPO is offering a pre-conference, NAGPRA-related training session this year, "Using 43 CFR 10.11 to Return 'Culturally Unidentifiable' Native American Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects." This one-day training will focus on the new regulatory section finalized on May 14, 2010, that requires the return of "culturally unidentifiable" Native American remains to Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.

This training session is a follow-up to last year's workshop, "Using the Culturally Unidentifiable Native American Inventories Database." This important database includes listings and information on over 124,000 individual Native Americans and almost one million associated funerary objects. If you are attending the entire annual meeting, this one-day training is included in your registration fee. If you only want to attend the one-day training, there will be a $100 registration fee.

Click here for the Training Session Agenda
Click here for the one-day registration form

Open Comment Period for 10.11 NAGPRA Regulations:

This is NATHPO's initial review of the publication of the 43 CFR Part 10 (specifically 10.11), "NAGPRA Regulations-Disposition of Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains; Final Rule with request for comments, Monday, March 15, 2010, 75 FR 12378."  This rule is proposed to become effective May 14, 2010.  Public comments must be received by May 14, 2010.  (See Federal Register notice for information on how to file comments.)

The document is 28 pages, the last 4 pages of which are the actual regulatory changes and the rest is preamble.  Click here to go directly to the rule:

This link allows you to read the proposed Final rule, submit comments, and read other posted comments.

Click here for more information


NATHPO Testifies on NAGPRA to the U.S. House of Representatives Full Committee on Natural Resources

NAGPRA TestimonyOn October 7, 2009, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources, which held a full committee oversight hearing on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).


click here to read the Press Release
click here for NATHPO's written testimony
click here to view the webcast of the hearing

Full Committee Oversight Hearing Entitled
"Native American Graves Protection And Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)"

click here for NATHPO's written testimony
click here to view the webcast of the hearing


"Federal Agency Implementation  Of NAGPRA"

report cover

This study was undertaken to prepare a substantive foundation for assessing the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and identifying where improvements might be made.

The Background section of this report includes historic information that describes one systemic effort that led to Native American ancestors and objects becoming separated from their local communities.  The Research Findings section includes original research, analysis of existing public information, and two national surveys conducted to determine how the Act is being implemented and how Federal agencies and Native Americans are working together to achieve the goals of the Act. Findings and Recommendations included in this report reflect the current state of Federal agency compliance with the Act, as of May 2008. 

Click here to read the Press Release pdf

Part II - Background pdf
Part III - Research Findings pdf
Part IV - Recommendations pdf
Appendix A - Summaries of Law and Regulations pdf
Appendix B - Survey Respondents pdf
Appendix C - Federal NAGPRA Appropriations and Grant History pdf
Appendix D - Notice of Inventory Completion Chart pdf
Appendix E - Letter From National NAGPRA Program to Grand Canyon NP pdf
Appendix F - "Federal Agency Statistics," 2006 pdf
Appendix G - Two High-Profile Federal-Tribal Case Studies pdf
Author's Page and Acknowledgments pdf
Front and Back Covers pdf
Zipped copy of entire report (11.9MB)pdf



There are two different federal laws that mandate repatriation programs.  One is operated by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service (NPS) National NAGPRA Program and the Park NAGPRA Program, and the other applies to the Smithsonian Institution.

* National Park Service NAGPRA program was created by Public Law 101-601 on November 16, 1990. (25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.; Final Regulations at 43 CFR 10 as amended January 13, 1997, August 7, 1997, and May 5, 2003, and published in the Code of Federal Regulations October 1, 2003)

* Repatriation activities of the Smithsonian Institution are governed by a separate law, however, the Institution’s role as a repository for human remains and Native American objects pre-dates the enactment of NAGPRA.  Public Law 101-185, the National Museum of the American Indian, was signed into law on November 28, 1989, establishing the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) within the Smithsonian Institution (20 USC 80q).  In addition to creating NMAI and the transfer of collections, the Act required the Smithsonian to create and carry out an institution-wide repatriation policy regarding Native American and certain cultural materials. The NMAI Amendments Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-278) added specific repatriation provisions.


NPS National NAGPRA Program

NPS NAGPRA Grants to Tribes & Museums

NPS NAGPRA Review Committee

NPS Civil Penalties Procedures


The Smithsonian Institution

  • National Museum of the American Indian
    The National Museum of the American Indian, established by Congress in 1989, is dedicated to the preservation, exhibition and study of the life and culture of Native Americans. It is one of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, an independent trust of the United States. The website offers information about exhibits, events, educational programs, repatriation and has extensive links to other resources related to Native Americans.
  • National Museum of the Natural History
    Information on repatriation at this museum.

NATHPO Special Project: State Repatriation, Reburial & Grave Protection Laws

NAGPRA News Archives