Repatriation at UMass Amherst


Connecticut River valley landscape

Repatriation at UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst is committed to the repatriation of all ancestral human remains from Native American, global Indigenous, and historically marginalized communities. In compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), UMass Amherst has repatriated 186 individuals and over 5,000 cultural items. 

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Learn More About NAGPRA  


Our Commitment to Repatriation

UMass Amherst respects the sovereignty and cultural practices of Native peoples and their associated rights to have their ancestral remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony respectfully returned through the process of repatriation. Over the last three decades, UMass Amherst has been working to repatriate ancestral remains in our possession. Following consultation with Tribal Nations, UMass Amherst has repatriated all culturally affiliated Native American ancestral remains and their belongings. UMass Amherst is continuing its work to identify the remains of several individuals who may be of Native American ancestry.

UMass is committed to the repatriation of all human remains from global Indigenous and historically marginalized communities who were collected without consent, then acquired by UMass for teaching and research. Academic knowledge and knowledge practices are deeply implicated in the histories of colonialism and slavery. We have inherited these legacies as knowledge, methods, methodologies, and material objects used in research and teaching. Any attempts at decolonizing academia must reconcile with these legacies.

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Our commitment includes: 

 Repatriation of Ancestors and Their Belongings

 Acknowledging Our Participation in a Legacy of Racist Scientific Research and Collecting

 A Commitment to Changing Teaching and Research Practices