Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, or NAGPRA, provides a process for federal agencies and museums that receive federal funds to repatriate or transfer from their collections certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony -- to lineal descendants, and to Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations.
The BLM has stewardship responsibility for one of the largest collections of museum objects in the Department of the Interior. Almost all of these collections are housed in non-federal repositories.
NAGPRA also provides a process for Federal agencies to address new discoveries of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural proprty intentionally excavated or inadvertently discovered on Federal or Tribal lands. Those processes are detailed in regulations available here. "New" discoveries are those events occuring after November 16, 1990, when NAGPRA was enacted.
Consultation with Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations is a critical component for addressing identification, treatment, and disposition of Native American cultural items.