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.
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|
|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|
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).