NAGPRA Compliance


A field of flowers

NAGPRA Compliance

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a United States federal law passed in 1990 that mandates tribal consultation regarding human remains and associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to lineal descendants, Native American tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

The goal of consultation is to determine cultural affiliation and return ancestral remains and cultural items to the appropriate parties. UMass Amherst is fully committed to meeting both the letter and the spirit of the law. All institutions receiving federal funds, including UMass Amherst, must comply with NAGPRA.

Learn more about NAGPRA


The Repatriation of Ancestors Through NAGPRA Notices of Inventory Completion

UMass Amherst consults with Tribal Nations, Native Hawaiian organizations and lineal descendants to repatriate their ancestors and their belongings. The university published 13 Notices of Inventory Completion in the Federal Register between 2004 and 2020 to repatriate all culturally affiliated Native American ancestors at the university, including 186 individuals and over 5,000 of their belongings.

Through archival research and consultation with Indigenous communities, the university is working to identify the remains of multiple individuals of Native American ancestry who have not been culturally or geographically affiliated yet.

Notices of Inventory Completion Published by UMass Amherst in the Federal Register

Geographic Area Represented Published Date Notice Number
Rhode Island 11/23/2004 04-25925
Maine 03/25/2009 E9-6508
Washington 01/05/2010 E9-31222
Nantucket, Massachusetts 03/15/2011 2011-5887
California 02/06/2012 2012-2533
Florida 12/18/2012 2012-30448
Ohio 09/30/2013 2013-23815
Nantucket, Massachusetts 03/31/2014 2014-07145
Connecticut River Valley and Central Massachusetts 05/15/2014 2014-11228
Connecticut River Valley and Central Massachusetts 09/10/2014 2014-21515
Connecticut River Valley and Central Massachusetts 12/22/2014 2014-29896
New York 06/30/2017 2017-13737
Utah 08/20/2020 2020-18230


Old Chapel at Dusk with Birds Flying Across the Sky

NAGPRA Summaries

UMass Amherst also consults with Tribal Nations, Native Hawaiian organizations, and lineal descendants to identify and repatriate cultural items of interest which may include unassociated funerary objects, sacred items, and objects of cultural patrimony.

NAGPRA Summaries have been sent to over 170 Tribal Nations, Native Hawaiian organizations, and Alaska Native communities providing overviews of thousands of cultural items associated with every region of the United States. Through our ongoing campus-wide NAGPRA review process, additional NAGPRA-sensitive items are occasionally located at UMass Amherst. When this happens, a new NAGPRA Summary is created and sent to communities who may be interested in repatriating the cultural item(s).


Contact UMass Amherst About Repatriation

Indigenous communities and lineal descendants who are interested in consulting with UMass Amherst are welcome to contact the Director of Repatriation/NAGPRA Coordinator for more information.