By Jeff Murphy, July 27, 2020
WARRENSBURG, MO – As part of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the United States National Park Service is awarding the University of Central Missouri McClure Archives and University Museum a $90,000 grant. It is included in a $1.9 million grant program that provides funds for 12 Indian tribes and 18 museums across the nation to assist in the consultation, documentation, and repatriation of ancestral remains and cultural items under NAGPRA.
“NAGPRA reinforces the basic right of people to determine how to best care for, and honor, the remains and societal objects of their ancestors,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela, exercising the authority of the director. “These grants will help tribes, museums and partners to respectfully transfer the items from museum collections to their traditional homes.”
UCM will receive one of 24 consultation and documentation grants, which are designed for museum and tribal staff travel, consultation meetings, and research in support of the repatriation process. Seven grants will fund the transportation and return of 50 cultural items, more than 24,000 funerary objects, and human remains representing 3,483 ancestors. “NAGPRA is an important federal law that helps identify, protect, and if proper return Native American materials to their home tribes,” said Amber Clifford-Napoleone, director of the McClure Archives and University Museum, who is serving as the McClure’s principal investigator for the project. “It is very much a homecoming as items that were taken by adventurers, missionaries, and academics are finally returned to their people, including religious items and human remains.” She added that the receipt of this two-year grant will enable the McClure Archives and University Museum to “align with federal law, improve knowledge and understanding of our Native American collections, build relationships with the indigenous peoples who created these collections, and hopefully see precious items returned to their families and cultures of heritage.”
“The McClure staff looks forward to spending the next two years not only to reach compliance, but also to see artifacts in consultation with their tribes of origin,” Clifford-Napoleone said.
Enacted in 1990, NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections, and to consult with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding repatriation. Section 10 of the Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to award grants to assist in implementing provisions of the Act. The National NAGPRA Program is administered by the National Park Service.
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