NPS awards $3.4 million for return of Native American remains and sacred objects
WASHINGTON — The National Park Service (NPS) has announced $3.4 million in grants to 16 Native American tribes and 28 museums to assist in the consultation, documentation and repatriation of ancestral remains and cultural items as part of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). This is the largest amount of funding appropriated for NAGPRA grants since the act was passed in 1990 and the funding program began in 1994.
“The National Park Service is committed to supporting the critical work of Tribal consultations, documentation and repatriation,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Returning sacred objects and remains through the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act grants ensures tribes are able to honor and care for their ancestors as they have been doing so since time immemorial.”
NAGPRA provides systematic processes for returning human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects or objects of cultural patrimony to Native American and Alaska Native Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.
A total of 21 grants to seven Native American tribes and seven museums will fund the transportation and return of human remains comprising of 11,354 ancestors, more than 10,400 funerary objects and 39 cultural items.
The University of Colorado Museum and the University of Northern Colorado will assist six Native Nations in a reburial ceremony for 123 ancestors in southwestern Colorado. Grant funds will support travel costs for both museum and tribal participants to attend the ceremony as well as labor and materials needed for the reburial. The joint project between the two universities reduces the overall costs for the reburial and reunites ancestors that have long been separated from each other and from their journey.
More details on these repatriations are in the related Federal Register notices for the University of Colorado Museum and the University of Northern Colorado.
A total of 34 grants to 11 Native American tribes and 21 museums will fund consultation and documentation projects, such as staff travel, consultation meetings and research to support the repatriation process.
In Arizona, this includes two grants for consultation and documentation totaling $199,675 to Arizona State University.