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The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 and the regulations (43 CFR Part 10) that allow for its implementation address the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations (parties with standing) to Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony, cultural items. The statute requires Federal agencies and museums to provide information about Native American cultural items to parties with standing and, upon presentation of a valid claim, ensure the item(s) undergo disposition or repatriation.

Contact your Regional Historic Preservation Officer immediately upon the discovery of any human remains or associated objects.

Contact Mr. Eugene Marino, National NAGPRA Coordinator, 703-358-2173, for more information on NAGPRA and NAGPRA implementation in the USFWS.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) at a glance – Information illustrating how the Service can best deal with Native American objects found on its lands.

NAGPRA Guidance for OLE information for Office of Law Enforcement compliance with NAGPRA.
(68 KB MS Word)

Tribal Consultation

A large portion of the USFWS NAGPRA consists of consulting with Native American tribes that were historically located on lands currently managed by USFWS. (Native American Consultation Policy (686 KB PDF)) Federally recognized Indian tribes are sovereign nations exercising government-to-government relations with the United States. Where the public lands are concerned, these relations usually take the form of legally required consultation, and in most day-to-day consultations with tribes. For USFWS, the essential reason for Native American consultation is to identify the cultural values, the religious beliefs, the traditional practices, and the legal rights of Native American people, which could be affected by USFWS actions on Federal lands, including cultural resources activities. Tribal consultation regarding public-land activities has 4 essential elements:
  • Identifying appropriate tribal governing bodies and individuals from whom to seek input.

  • Conferring with appropriate tribal officials and/or individuals and asking for their views regarding land use proposals or other pending USFWS actions that might affect traditional tribal activities, practices, or beliefs relating to particular locations on public lands.

  • Treating tribal information as a necessary factor in defining the range of acceptable public-land management options.

  • Creating and maintaining a permanent record to show how tribal information was obtained and used in the USFWS decision making process.

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