The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted in 1990 in order to afford Native Americans a legal avenue by which to regain human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and items of cultural patrimony from institutions that operate with federal funds.
Colorado State University has a NAGPRA collection which includes human remains and funerary objects. Since 2006, Dr. Jason LaBelle and Dr. Ann Magennis worked to complete an inventory of these individuals and objects in order to gain NAGPRA compliance. CSU held two consultations with tribes regarding the individuals, one in December of 2012 and one in March of 2013, in order to determine a plan for both culturally identifiable and unidentifiable individuals, and return them to the tribes.
In spring of 2013, CSU published their initial NAGPRA inventory on the National NAGPRA database and in August of 2013 the first Notice of Inventory Completion was published regarding a majority of the individuals held by the university.
This year, Notices of Inventory Completion will be published for every individual held at CSU and the first repatriation is likely to occur this fall. After Notices of Inventory Completion are published, Transfer of Control letters are then drafted and signed between CSU and the tribe(s) indicating that the tribe(s) now controls the individuals. In many cases, CSU will house the remains until reburial locations or repatriation conditions are ideal, as determined by the respective tribe(s).
If you have any questions about NAGPRA at CSU or the process in general, please contact NAGPRA Coordinator Dr. Jason LaBelle at Jason.LaBelle@colostate.edu.
Last updated September 3, 2013