• What is an AFO? What is MNI?

    There are a lot of acronyms associated with the NAGPRA process.

    NAGPRA refers to the law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

    AFO refers to Associated Funerary Objects, or items found along with the ancestor that are also in possession of the institution.

    MNI refers to the Minimum Number of Individuals, or the minimum number of ancestors represented.

  • What kinds of items are covered under NAGPRA?

    Cultural item means human remains, associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.

    Human remains means the physical remains of the body of a person of Native American ancestry.

    Funerary object means an object that, as a part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, is reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later. Funerary objects may be either associated or unassociated.

    Sacred object means a specific ceremonial object which is needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present day adherents.

    Object of cultural patrimony means an object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual Native American, and which, therefore, cannot be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and such object shall have been considered inalienable by such Native American group at the time the object was separated from such group.

  • What is the difference between Returned and Repatriated?

    Repatriated means that legal control for those Ancestors has been transferred to the requesting Tribes.

    Returned means that those Ancestors have been physically transferred to the Tribe(s) or other appropriate entity.

  • What's the difference between "associated" and "unassociated" funerary objects?

    Funerary objects are considered unassociated under NAGPRA if the human remains with which the objects were originally placed ARE NOT in the control of a museum or Federal agency.

    Funerary objects are considered associated under NAGPRA if the human remains with which the objects were originally placed ARE in the control of a museum or Federal agency.

  • What does having a moratorium mean?

    MSU's moratorium on research on potentially NAGPRA eligible collections means that no teaching or research may be conducted on any collection that has been identified as falling under the purview of NAGPRA. Collections that have previously been identified as NAGPRA eligible and are part of the MSU NAGPRA inventory, and/or have been part of a claim or request for repatriation, cannot be used for research or teaching purposes. Research requests for collections that have not been previously determined as NAGPRA eligible will be individually evaluated prior to granting permission.

  • Where can I go to learn more about NAGPRA?

    The MSU NAGPRA Policy outlines how Michigan State University is adhering to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

    The National NAGPRA Program has a series of webinars on their YouTube channel that can be a great source of information on the process.

    ProPublica published a series of articles on the state of NAGPRA work in the United States, which you can access at the Repatriation Project.

    • Please note that they use the phrase "made available for return"; this means that a Notice of Inventory Completion has been published for those Ancestors. This can be a lengthy process that involves consultation with any culturally or geographically affiliated Tribes.

    Recently, the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture hosted a panel called "Healing and Justice through Repatriation" that you can view here: https://youtu.be/BdIoAceOycQ