Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today announced that the National Park Service is awarding $1,663,382 in grants to assist Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages and museums with implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which assists in the return of human remains and cultural objects to their native people.
"Returning cultural items to their inheritors and human beings to their descendants so they may be interred with dignity is unequivocally the right thing to do," Secretary Salazar said. "With these grants, I am pleased that we are continuing to take steps to right a historic wrong."
"The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is one of the most important tools we have to address violations of human rights against native nations, individuals and their ancestors," said Director Jarvis. "I am proud that the National Park Service plays a key role in implementing this policy of protection for American Indian and Native Hawaiian peoples and culture."
Of the total Fiscal Year 2012 grant allocations, the Park Service is awarding $1,559,888 to 21 recipients for projects to support the efforts of museums, Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations in the documentation of NAGPRA-related objects (consultation/documentation grants), while the remaining $103,494 is going to 10 recipients for costs associated with the return of the remains and objects to their native people (repatriation grants).
Today's funding is in addition to FY12 grants announced in February that will assist in the repatriation of over 150 individuals and over 15,000 sacred objects, objects of cultural patrimony and funerary objects back to the tribes.
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 culturally affiliated Indian tribes, Alaska Native villages and corporations, and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding the return of these objects to descendants or culturally affiliated tribes and other organizations. The Act also authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to award grants to assist in implementing provisions of the Act.
Projects funded by the grant program include consultations to identify and affiliate individuals and cultural items, training for both museum and tribal staff on NAGPRA, digitizing collection records for consultation, consultations regarding culturally significant unaffiliated individuals, as well as the preparation and transport of items back to their native people.
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