indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines
Print   Subscribe
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors

Filed Under: Education | Environment | Law
More on: 9th circuit, california, immunity, kumeyaay, nagpra
     


The University House at the University of California-San Diego. The ancestral remains were discovered on the grounds. Photo from UCSD

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged the repatriation of tribal ancestors to the Kumeyaay Nation in California.

The University of California declared the remains to be "Native American" but scientists sued to stop their return under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. A federal judge dismissed the case, saying it required the involvement of the 12 Kumeyaay tribes and the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee, a tribal entity.

By a 2-1 vote, the 9th Circuit agreed. NAGPRA doesn't waive tribal sovereign immunity so the Kumeyaay tribes and the repatriation committee can't be joined without consent, the decision stated.

"There is no doubt that the tribes and the repatriation committee have a legally protected interest," the court wrote.

The ancestral remains -- believed to represent at least two people -- were discovered in 1976 on the grounds of the chancellor’s official residence at the University of California-San Diego. They are estimated to be between 8,900 and 9,600 years old.

The Kumeyaay people have lived in the same area for tens of thousands of years so they requested the return of the remains. The University of California at first balked at the claim but later determined they were "Native American" and published notice in the Federal Register on December 5, 2011, a step towards potential repatriation to the tribes.

There is no guarantee, however, that the remains will indeed be returned, the 9th Circuit noted. That's one of the reasons why the court recognized the legal interests of the Kumeyaay tribes and the repatriation committee.

"Contrary to the plaintiffs’ assertions, the university cannot sufficiently represent the interests of the tribes or repatriation committee," the decision stated. "At present, their interests are aligned. There is some reason to believe that they will not necessarily remain aligned."

"However, as the district court pointed out, the university 'has a broad obligation to serve the interests of the people of California, rather than any particular subset, such as the people of the Kumeyaay tribes,'" it continued. "Thus, the different motivations of the two parties could lead to a later divergence of interests."

The sole dissenting vote from Judge Mary H. Murguia, who argued that the determination of "Native American" could be litigated without the tribes' involvement, makes the case ripe for a rehearing. Further appeals could lead to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has never heard a NAGPRA case.

Turtle Talk has posted briefs from the case, White v. University of California. Oral arguments can be found on the Indian.Com SoundCloud.

9th Circuit Decision:
White v. University of California (August 27, 2014)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Inventory Completion: The University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA (December 5, 2011)

Related Stories:
Steven Newcomb: Scientists lay claim to Kumeyaay ancestors (04/15)
New Scientist: Remains at center of NAGPRA feud in California (05/16)
School barred from returning remains to Kumeyaay Nation (5/2)
Professors file a competing lawsuit over ancestral remains (4/25)
Kumeyaay Nation sues university to repatriate ancestors (4/24)


Copyright © Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Stay Connected:
On Facebook

On Twitter

On Google+

On SoundCloud
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Disputed leaders of Nooksack Tribe hit by Supreme Court decision (4/27)
Indigenous activists make presence known for climate march in DC (4/27)
Interior Department announces $5.7M in tribal preservation grants (4/27)
Mark Trahant: Senate candidate cites Standing Rock as 'awakening' (4/27)
Native Sun News Today: Battle over Whiteclay liquor just beginning (4/27)
Ivan Star Comes Out: Why are we still dealing with racism today? (4/27)
Albert Bender: Navajo family still waiting on justice for loved one (4/27)
Whiteclay liquor stores win surprise court ruling on liquor licenses (4/27)
Dakota Access firm faces fines for two spills of drilling fluid in Ohio (4/27)
Gathering of Nations gets ready for annual powwow in new venue (4/27)
Secretary Zinke lacks leadership team more than a month into job (4/27)
Republicans seek to avoid shutdown with temporary spending bill (4/27)
Supreme Court ruling seen as benefit to casino bus crash lawsuit (4/27)
Mashantucket Tribe charges off-duty officer for assault at casino (4/27)
Trump singles out Bears Ears as an 'abuse' of government's power (4/26)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Let's call Columbus by what he truly was (4/26)
Native Sun News Today: Lakota youth set up beekeeping business (4/26)
Cronkite News: Trump seeks to hire thousands of border officers (4/26)
Doug Pibel: New film teaches us about value of indigenous seeds (4/26)
Jenn Weddle: 'Best possible result' from court in sovereignty case (4/26)
Peter d'Errico: Oneida architect offers indigenous approach to law (4/26)
Whiteclay liquor stores aim to stay open pending fight for licenses (4/26)
Support for Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leads to recall in Alaska city (4/26)
Mishewal Wappo Tribe loses appeal in federal recognition lawsuit (4/26)
Police use tear gas & rubber bullets at indigenous protest in Brazil (4/26)
Mohegan Tribe wants gaming disputes resolved in judicial system (4/26)
Supreme Court hands defeat to tribal interests in sovereignty case (4/25)
Matthew Fletcher: 'Gamesmanship' brings defeat in Supreme Court (4/25)
Supreme Court relists petition in Gun Lake Tribe gaming land case (4/25)
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute team wins NASA prize (4/25)
Former top Bureau of Indian Affairs official joins Washington firm (4/25)
Native Sun News Today: Groups fight uranium mining in Black Hills (4/25)
Cronkite News: Budget deadline falls on Donald Trump's 100th day (4/25)
Mary Annette Pember: Indian Child Welfare Act heals our families (4/25)
André Cramblit: Tribes must make language survival a top priority (4/25)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.