Indian Country Today Media Network, July 23, 2015
Remains of more than 300 ancestors could soon return home, thanks to 1.5 million in grants awarded to 15 tribes and 16 museums under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
Tribes received a total of 37 grants, the National Park Service (NPS) said, with the rest going to museums that will help identify, document and return ancestral remains and cultural objects to their place of origination. The grants range from $2,407 to $76,753.
“These grants address the basic desire to have stewardship over one’s own heritage,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis in a statement. “The NAGRPA process provides the opportunity for ancestral remains and cultural items to be returned to American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples.”
Besides repatriating more than 300 ancestors, the grants will enable the return of “numerous funerary and traditional items to Indian tribes across the United States, travel by Indian tribal representatives to consultations with museums holding potentially affiliated remains and other cultural items, specialized training for both museums and tribes on NAGPRA, and the development of a tribal coalition to collaborate and facilitate the repatriation of significant collections currently in museums,” the NPS said.