IU awarded consultation grant for Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act

The National Park Service has awarded Indiana University a $46,348 grant to support consultation with representatives of Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations about matters related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, known as NAGPRA.

The grant will enable IU to bring representatives of at least 10 tribes to the Bloomington campus in the spring of 2016, said Jayne-Leigh Thomas, the university’s NAGPRA director. The visits will include roundtable discussions and tours of IU archives and repositories.

Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

The IU grant is one of 37 grants, totaling $1.5 million, announced recently by the National Park Service. They were awarded to 15 Indian tribes and 16 museums and institutions.

“These grants address the basic desire to have stewardship over one’s own heritage,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a news release. “The NAGRPA process provides the opportunity for ancestral remains and cultural items to be returned to American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples.”

Enacted in 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires museums and government agencies to inventory Native American human remains and cultural objects in their collections and consult with federally recognized Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations with the goal of repatriating those collections. The National Park Service, which administers the law, is authorized to award grants to assist with its implementation.

Indiana University houses collections that include human remains and cultural items at repositories at IU Bloomington. The collections, primarily from Indiana and Illinois, were acquired as a result of anthropological research, archaeological excavations, and private donations.