Bringing the Ancestors Home

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), passed by Congress in 1990, recognizes the rights of American Indians to claim, and take possession of, human remains and certain artifacts (for example, funerary objects) on the basis of cultural affiliation. Since the passage of this legislation, tribal leaders have worked closely with government personnel to determine the cultural affiliations of materials in collections around the country, resulting in the return of many ancestors and important cultural objects to their homes.