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NAGPRA

NATIVE AMERICAN GRAVES PROTECTION
AND REPATRIATION ACT

On November 16, 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) became law.  This law (Section 3001 through 3015 of Volume 25 of the United States Code):

  • Establishes procedures and legal standards for the repatriation of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony by federal agencies and certain museums, educational and other institutions, and state and local governments.
  • Recognizes certain Tribal, Native Hawaiian and individual rights in regard to burial sites located on federal and Tribal lands.

This federal Act is based upon the unique relationship between Native Americans and the federal government.

Since the passage of this law, federal agencies, museums, educational institutions, and state and local governments have contacted the Tribe when objects falling under NAGPRA are discovered, intentionally or inadvertently, within collections specific to each organization.

To assess the large volume of notifications from every agency, a Repatriation Committee was formed on March 4, 1997.  The objective of the Repatriation Committee is to exercise the powers of NAGPRA for the sole purpose of returning to the Tribe, Peoria human remains, sacred objects, funerary objects and objects of cultural patrimony.

Currently, the most exciting action coming together is a culturally affiliated collection of remains at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana from the Starved Rock State Park in La Salle County, Illinois will be repatriated later this year. There are other collections being housed at Indiana University as well that are potentially affiliated that may also be repatriated at the Tribal Cemetery. Once all the remains housed at Indiana University with potential to be affiliated are analyzed and an association is established, the process for bringing those home will begin.

Other efforts focused on culturally affiliated collections continue. Consultation with various entities and other Native American tribes to determine the cultural identity and affiliation for human remains and artifacts is ongoing. Information is continuously posted in online databases on the NAGPRA website (http://www.nps.gov/nagpra/ONLINEDB/index.htm).

Locally, the cultural resources personnel and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers of tribes in Ottawa County meet quarterly. Our tribes may share ancestral lands, or they may overlap, bringing our interests together in NAGPRA issues that occur on those lands. The group has seen evidence that proves a unified voice from tribes in dealing with NAGPRA issues is highly beneficial both to the tribes and to the entity being dealt with. A shared past makes it necessary to come together in the present and future to make the best effort to protect the history and culture of each tribe.

Section 106 Consultations

Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and its implementing regulations in 36 CFR Part 800, requests for consultation are received in the Tribal Office to consult on projects that occur on Peoria historical lands. The entities from whom requests are received include but are not limited to the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Illinois Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration Illinois Division, Kentucky Division, and Indiana Division, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Oklahoma Departments of Transportation. Also included are many local governments and their consultants.

Respectfully submitted by:

Cynthia Stacy

Special Projects Manager / NAGPRA