The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed in 1990 and established protocols for the transfer of human remains and funerary objects to culturally affiliated tribes.

The law also contains provisions relating to sacred objects and archaeological site protection and antiquities trafficking. NAGPRA applies to museums receiving federal funding and to public land-holding agencies such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Since passage of NAGPRA, the museum has actively inventoried and reported its holdings and consulted and collaborated with affiliated Tribes in compliance with the law. In 1993, collections summaries were mailed to about two hundred Native American groups across the country. Inventories were distributed in 1996.

As of 2024, the museum has repatriated the remains of more than 450 individuals and more than 6,100 funerary objects to eight of Oregon’s nine Federally Recognized Tribes, as well as others in Washington, Nevada, California, Hawaii, Alaska, and British Columbia (the latter in Canada; not under jurisdiction of NAGPRA). We have supported multiple federal agencies in the transfer of human remains and funerary objects held by our museum from lands administered by the Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and others.

Consultations are ongoing and repatriations will continue to take place when requested by affiliated Tribes. We believe that full compliance with NAGPRA, both to the letter and spirit of the law, is vital, and we honor and value our relations with America’s Indigenous peoples.

Detailed information on Federal Register notices and repatriations by the museum are available at the National Park Service National NAGPRA site. Scroll to “Published Notices." Search for "University of Oregon" or click on "Oregon" under the list of states. Some entries in this second category are listed under a federal agency, e.g. Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Fish and Wildlife, but they relate to museum holdings.

For more information, contact Pamela Endzweig, director of anthropological collections, at 541-346-5120 or