Native American Graves Repatriation Act

What is Nagpra?

On November 16, 1990, Congress passed the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, known as NAGPRA. This expansive law establishes a process of repatriation, or the return of cultural items and human remains from museums to the proper Native American Tribe.

Additional information about the National NAGPRA program can be found here:


The University of Nebraska State Museum is dedicated to following the legal process and embracing the ethical foundations of NAGPRA. The UNSM has returned numerous human remains and associated funerary objects and continues to consult on human remains of unknown affiliation with the intent to repatriate. Additionally UNSM works toward repatriation of objects of cultural patrimony, unaffiliated funerary objects, and sacred objects through consultation.

As part of the UNSM dedication to NAGPRA, the museum implemented a Moratorium on New Studies of Native American Human Remains and Funerary Objects. This moratorium protects Native American ancestors and funerary items from further disturbance or research. The moratorium can be read in full in the UNSM Collection Management Policy:

In 2021 and 2022 UNSM updated its 1993 NAGPRA Summaries and Inventory as part of our NAGPRA goals. These most recent version of the Summary and Inventory can be made available upon request. We welcome inquiries from all Tribal Nations. 

To make an on-site or virtual consultation request, please contact