On January 2nd 2020 the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation sent an announcement to the entire campus community about plans to develop and coordinate activities relating to the federal law known as NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act).
For the past two years, as the Chancellor’s Fellow for Indigenous Research, Assistant Professor Jenny Davis, Department of Anthropology has led the efforts to achieve campus- wide compliance with NAGPRA policies.
This Act requires all federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to transfer a wide range of cultural materials to Native American tribes and their lineal descendants. These include culturally affiliated human remains and associated funerary objects, culturally unaffiliated human remains and associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.
The University of Illinois recently announced the formation of a NAGPRA Policies & Procedures Committee, which will oversee campus-wide efforts to comply with the law, informed by a NAGPRA Program Officer and Staff, a search for whom is underway. The goal is to begin in-person training about repatriation in Spring 2020 and coordinate these efforts through one existing campus office dedicated to ‘best practices’, as required by the Act.
Looking ahead to the next phase of the process, the Department of Anthropology reaffirms its commitment and responsibility to Native Nations, with enthusiastic support and grateful thanks for Professor Jenny Davis’s dedication and leadership on this important issue.
Read here the full text of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announcement.