Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Compliance

Purpose

As a land-grant institution, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a responsibility to acknowledge the Native Nations on whose land we reside, and to work with them to ensure that Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian human remains and funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony are curated and repatriated by the University in a respectful, dignified, and legally compliant manner.  This policy establishes institutional oversight and compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq. and companion regulations at 43 C.F.R. part 10 (collectively “NAGPRA”). This policy intends to improve transparency and accountability in order to promote and strengthen relationships between the university and descendant communities.

Scope

This policy applies to all members of the Campus Community who have possession or control of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.

Authority

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.

Policy

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is committed to the preservation and respectful treatment and return of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian descendant communities in accordance with NAGPRA.

Research which utilizes confirmed or potential NAGPRA collections, including human remains and cultural items, must be approved in advance by the NAGPRA Advisory Committee. This approval process is outlined in the procedures maintained by the NAGPRA Program Officer.

The university respects the rights of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian descendant communities. Communications regarding consultations, documentation for NAGPRA, cultural affiliation, and repatriation will remain confidential to the extent allowed by state and federal law. New knowledge and information acquired as part of the NAGPRA process will not be shared until repatriation is completed, unless legally required or with explicit permission from relevant descendant communities.

Definitions

“Campus Community” means students; university employees, including but not limited to adjunct and clinical faculty, visiting faculty, and postdoctoral appointees; and visiting scientists and visiting scholars engaged in research or scholarship conducted in campus facilities or at off-campus locations.

“Cultural Items” means, collectively, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony.

“Funerary objects” means items that, as part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed intentionally at the time of death or later with or near individual human remains.

“Human remains” means the physical remains of the body of a person of Native American ancestry. The term does not include remains or portions of remains that may reasonably be determined to have been freely given or naturally shed by the individual from whose body they were obtained, such as hair made into ropes or nets.

“Native American” means of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture indigenous to the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

“Objects of cultural patrimony” means items having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization itself, rather than property owned by an individual tribal or organization member. These objects are of such central importance that they may not be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual tribal or organization member.

“Sacred objects” means items that are specific ceremonial objects needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present-day adherents.

Processes/Procedures/Guidelines

  1. Any member of the Campus Community who is or may be in possession or control of human remains or cultural items must notify the NAGPRA Program Officer and cooperate with the university’s NAGPRA procedures to satisfy all obligations.
  2. A NAGPRA Advisory Committee will be appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation. The Committee will advise the VCRI on NAGPRA policy, procedures, communications, tribal relations, and the process for repatriation of human remains and cultural items.
  3. The NAGPRA Program Officer within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, in consultation with the NAGPRA Advisory Committee, will develop and maintain procedures for the university’s implementation of NAGPRA.
  4. The university’s consultation and repatriation of NAGPRA collections must be conducted according to the law and to the procedures developed by the NAGPRA Program Officer.
  5. The university may be subject to significant fines for NAGPRA violations. Members of the Campus Community who violate this policy or its companion procedures will be subject to discipline in accordance with applicable university policies and procedures.

Exceptions

There are no exceptions to this policy.

Contact

The NAGPRA Program Officer, within the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation.