indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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:
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Tribes united against Keystone XL Pipeline (9/19)
Regina Brave: The earth that once was will soon be no more (9/19)
Chelsey Luger and Gyasi Ross: A conversation about suicide (9/19)
Cobell settlement checks being cashed across Indian Country (9/19)
Congress passes measure for tribal general welfare programs (9/19)
Native Sun News: US Senate candidates debate Native issues (9/18)
Cobell settlement checks landing in Indian Country mailboxes (9/18)
Sen. Walsh welcomes arrival of last Cobell settlement payout (9/18)
Rep. Daines praises House action on tribal general welfare bill (9/18)
Winnebago attorney joins BIA as a deputy assistant secretary (9/18)
NWIFC schedules briefing on 'Treaty Rights 101' on Capitol Hill (9/18)
Norbert Hill: It's past time to drop the Washington NFL mascot (9/18)
Peter d'Errico: Connecting mascots to racism and termination (9/18)
Opinion: Eliminating NFL team's racist mascot is just the start (9/18)
Student newspaper punished over refusal to print the R-word (9/18)
Officer investigated for 'drunk uneducated animals' comment (9/18)
9th Circuit rules against Chemehuevi Tribe in land deed case (9/18)
Mashable: Oglala Sioux man still pushing MazaCoin currency (9/18)
City won't allow vote on Tohono O'odham Nation casino plan (9/18)
9th Circuit poses tough questions in Big Lagoon casino case (9/18)
North Fork Rancheria banks on voter approval of casino deal (9/18)
KBIC judge dismisses lawsuit challenging plan for new casino (9/18)
Oneida Nation concerned about location of commercial casino (9/18)
Mashantucket Tribe's gaming executive to resign next month (9/18)
Column: Time for Mohegan Tribe to show its hand over casino (9/18)
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe honors veterans (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Is independence in the future for tribal nations? (9/17)
Audio: SCIA takes up bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/17)
House approves bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/17)
House Natural Resources Committee sets markup on tribal bills (9/17)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/17)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (9/17)
House passes bill to shield Gun Lake Tribe casino from litigation (9/17)
Andre Cramblit: Enjoying life at Dartmouth as a Native student (9/17)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tribes need to lead climate change reform (9/17)
Sarah Deer wins genius grant for work to protect Native women (9/17)
Tex Hall loses bid for another term as chair of North Dakota tribe (9/17)
Group starts dragging of river in search of missing Native women (9/17)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Trial delayed for leader of Muscogee Nation accused in theft case (9/17)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (9/17)
NLRB reaffirms jurisdiction over Little River Band gaming facility (9/17)
Chumash Tribe to use labor unions for all work on casino project (9/17)
Student arrested over theft at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (9/17)
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
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.