What is NAGPRA?

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a federal law that was enacted in 1990. This law provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return Native American human remains and cultural items (funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony) to lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is fully committed to actively pursue the repatriation and disposition of tribal ancestors and cultural items according to both the published regulations and the spirit of the law.

Learn about the NAGPRA process at UW-Madison.

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Request information about Inventories or Summaries submitted by UW-Madison or submit a claim for repatriation or disposition.

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NAGPRA In the News

NAGPRA legislation has experienced a few updates and changes since the original enactment in 1990. In the fall of 2021, the National NAGPRA Office began efforts to update verbiage and streamline the regulations process to make it easier and more efficient to comply with NAGPRA. Revised regulations were published on October 18, 2022. These proposed changes are awaiting promulgation. Visit the National NAGPRA Office website to see the most current proposed changes.

View recently proposed draft regulations

The Universities of Wisconsin approved UW System Administrative Policy 645, “Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Compliance” on October 31, 2023. This policy provides guidance on consistent compliance across the UW campuses. Click on the link to find out more about this new policy.

SYS 645, “NAGPRA Compliance”