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NATIVE AMERICAN GRAVES PROTECTION
AND REPATRIATION ACT

On November 16, 1990, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) became law.  This law (Section 3001 through 3015 of Volume 25 of the United States Code):

•           Establishes procedures and legal standards for the repatriation of human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony by federal agencies and certain museums, educational and other institutions, and state and local governments.

•           Recognizes certain Tribal, Native Hawaiian and individual rights in regard to burial sites located on federal and Tribal lands.

This federal Act is based upon the unique relationship between Native Americans and the

federal government.

Since the passage of this law, federal agencies, museums, educational institutions, and state and local governments have contacted the Tribe when objects falling under NAGPRA are discovered, intentionally or inadvertently, within collections specific to each organization.

To assess the large volume of notifications from every agency, a Repatriation Committee was formed on March 4, 1997.  The objective of the Repatriation Committee is to exercise the powers of NAGPRA for the sole purpose of returning to the Tribe, Peoria human remains, sacred objects, funerary objects and objects of cultural patrimony.

In 2009 the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma received a NAGPRA Grant through the National Park Service for documentation of culturally affiliated funerary objects held in federally funded institutions which are required to comply with NAGPRA.  The grant provides funding to identify, photograph and digitize records of artifacts and make those records available to tribal members.

Frank Hecksher was employed in July 2010 to manage and coordinate the NAGPRA Grant. Efforts have been focused on the Peoria Tribe Artifact Collection (PTAC) housed in Springfield, Illinois at the Illinois State Museum. In August Chief Froman, Second Chief Dollarhide, and Annette Black accompanied the NAGPRA Grant Manager to Springfield for a review of the collection as well as to finalize plans for the digitization of the images of the 35mm. slide collection. Images will be copied to discs for distribution to tribal members at the Annual Council Meeting. In addition the grant calls for posting images on the tribal website. In July 2010 an extension was filed and accepted for the current NAGPRA Grant to run through July 2011.

Contacts have been established with other institutions regarding items in their possession that may have a Peoria Tribal connection. Consultation with the institutions and other Native American tribes to determine the cultural identity and affiliation for human remains and artifacts is ongoing.  NAGPRA calls for the repatriation of any human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony to tribes with a cultural affiliation.

A Repatriation Committee Meeting was held with committee co-chair and Second Chief, Jason Dollarhide presiding. A webinar hosted by Sangita Chari and Jamie Lavallee from the National NAGPRA office was held along with the meeting. The program focused on information posted on the online database which is available through the NAGPRA website (http://www.nps.gov/history/nagpra/) as well as gave members an opportunity to ask questions through a conference call.  Plans were discussed for the Repatriation program with future meeting dates to be determined.

As part of the NAGPRA grant a disc containing images of the PTAC was produced and distributed to tribal members at the 2011 Annual Meeting. In addition images are posted and updated in the Newsletter. PTAC images will be made available for viewing online through the Peoria Tribe’s website as well.

The Cooperative Agreement with Illinois State Museum has been updated. This document outlines care and use procedures for the Peoria Tribe Archaeological Collection (PTAC). The updated agreement will continue through the year 2022.

In January the Business Committee approved a request by Duane Esarey [University of North Carolina] to access certain artifacts in the PTAC. In particular Mr. Esaray is studying the  shell bead collection from the River L'Abbe Mission settlement of the Peoria Tribe (1735-1752), located on the first terrace of Monks Mound at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site . The Peoria Tribe will be provided a copy of the research report when completed.

Submitted by:
Frank Hecksher

NAGPRA Grant Manager

118 S. Eight Tribes Trail
P.O. Box 1527
Miami, Oklahoma 74355
918.540.2535 Telephone 918.540.2538 Fax