Congress Told Colleges to Return Native Remains. What’s Taking So Long?

More than a decade ago, Congress ordered colleges and universities to return the remains of Native American tribes to their descendants. But many schools have yet to comply. Here’s why.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed by Congress in 1990 in order to protect Native American graves and to repatriate Native American remains and artifacts. NAGPRA requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to inventory and identify any Native American remains and artifacts in their collections, and to consult with tribal governments about the return of those remains and artifacts.

Since the passage of NAGPRA, over 10,000 individual Native American remains have been repatriated to their respective tribes. However, there are still an estimated 30,000-40,000 individual remains that have yet to be repatriated. In addition, there are an estimated 1 million-2 million Native American artifacts that have not yet been repatriated.

The process of inventorying, identifying, and consulting with tribes can be time-consuming and expensive. Some federal agencies and institutions have been slow to comply with the law. As a result, many Native American tribes have had to sue federal agencies in order to get their ancestors’ remains and artifacts returned.

The blog section of the article “Congress Told Colleges to Return Native Remains. What’s Taking So Long?” discusses the process

Why it’s taking so long for colleges to comply

It’s been over a year since Congress passed a law requiring colleges and universities to return the remains of Native American tribes to their rightful owners. But many institutions are still dragging their feet on complying with the law.

There are a number of reasons why it’s taking so long for some colleges to return the remains. In some cases, institutions are waiting for more information from tribes about who the rightful owners of the remains are. In other cases, they’re simply unsure of how to go about returning the remains.

But whatever the reason, it’s clear that more needs to be done to speed up the process of returning Native American remains to their rightful owners. The sooner these remains are returned, the sooner families can begin the process of healing and closure.

The process of repatriation

It’s been over a decade since Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which requires colleges and museums to return the remains of Native American ancestors to their respective tribes.

Despite this, many institutions have been slow to comply with the law. In some cases, this is because they lack the resources to properly identify and locate the remains in their collections. In other cases, there is resistance from within the institution to returning the remains.

repatriation is a long and complicated process, but it’s one that needs to be carried out with respect and dignity. The first step is to consult with the appropriate tribe or tribes to determine their wishes regarding the remains. This can be a difficult task, as there are often multiple tribes with a claim to the same remains.

Once the appropriate tribe has been consulted, the next step is to physically relocate the remains. This can be a daunting task, as many institutions have large collections of human remains. Once the remains have been located, they need to be carefully packaged and shipped to the tribe.

The final step in the repatriation process is ceremonial reburial. This is often done in accordance with traditional tribal

What happens to the remains after they’re repatriated

When Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in 1990, they established a process for the return of Native American remains and cultural items to their respective tribes. But what happens to the remains after they’re repatriated?

According to NAGPRA, the remains must be reburied in a manner that is respectful of tribal customs and beliefs. This often means a traditional burial ceremony, which can take some time to arrange. In some cases, the tribe may decide to cremate the remains instead.

The repatriation process can be emotional for everyone involved. For the families of the deceased, it can be a long-awaited closure to a painful chapter in their history. And for the tribes, it’s an important step in reconnecting with their ancestors and preserving their culture.

Conclusion

It has been over a year since Congress told colleges and universities to return the remains of Native Americans to their respective tribes, but many institutions are still dragging their feet. This is a sensitive issue, and it’s important that the remains be handled with respect. But the longer these institutions take to return the remains, the more they are disrespecting the wishes of Native American tribes. It’s time for them to step up and do right by these tribes — returning the remains as quickly as possible.

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