The Department of the Interior (Department) proposes to revise its Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) regulations at 43 CFR part 10 and invites Tribal Leaders to consult on the proposed rule.
The proposed regulations would clarify and improve upon the systematic process for the disposition and repatriation of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony. In August 2021, the Department hosted consultation sessions with Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations on a draft proposal and incorporated that input to the maximum extent possible. A summary of the over 700 comments received and the Department’s response to each comment is attached for your review. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on October, 18, 2022 and is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/10/18/2022-22376/native-american-graves-protection-and-repatriation-act-systematic-process-for-disposition-and. Additional documents can also be found at: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nagpra/regulations.htm.
Our intent with the proposed rule is to:
- Emphasize consultation at every step in the regulatory process;
- Require deference to the customs, traditions, and Native American traditional knowledge of lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations;
- Provide a step-by-step roadmap for museums and Federal agencies to comply with the requirements;
- Establish specific timelines to facilitate the required disposition and repatriation; and
- Remove the burden on lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to initiate the process and add a requirement for museums and Federal agencies to complete the process.
In addition, we would like your input on the following specific areas:
- Timelines: How can we further allow Indian Tribes flexibility and discretion in the step-by-step processes under Subparts B and C?
- New responsibilities: Do you anticipate sufficient capacity to take on new responsibilities for discoveries and excavations on Tribal lands under Subpart B?
- Requests: Do you anticipate sufficient opportunity under the proposed regulations to submit requests for consultation and repatriation under Subpart C?
- Efficiency: Do you think the proposed revisions have streamlined and simplified the regulatory process for repatriation under Subpart C?
- Impacts: Do you think the proposed revisions will impact your Tribe’s capacity and resources for repatriation under Subpart C?
Please submit written comments on the proposed regulations by 11:59 p.m. ET, January 31, 2023. Comments must be identified by the Regulation Identified Number (RIN) 1024-AE19 and must be submitted by one -- and only one -- of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Direct link to make comments is: https://www.regulations.gov/document/NPS-2022-0004-0001
- Mail to: National NAGPRA Program, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop 7360, Washington, DC 20240. Attn: Melanie O’Brien, Manager, NAGPRA Rule Comments.