20 years after the inauguration of the National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), California’s own NAGPRA law (or Cal NAGPRA) has been effectively quashed by a lack of state funding.
Cal NAGPRA was enacted in 2001 in an attempt to force California institutions with large Native American collections to return objects to their culturally affiliated descendants. The bill (AB 978) aimed to “streamline and add an accountability step to the repatriation process” to both federally and non-federally recognized tribes. Unlike other states, California does not have a process of recognition for federally unrecognized tribes. Consequently, the state has over a hundred such tribes, the highest number in the country.
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