indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
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: Activists take annual swim to Alcatraz Island (10/21)
Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives ready for conference and election (10/21)
BIA announces consultations for secretarial election regulation (10/21)
Chelsey Luger & Gyasi Ross: From slow suicide to slow healing (10/21)
Bill John Baker: Addressing breast cancer in our communities (10/21)
ICT interview with Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn of BIA (10/21)
Navajo Nation court still mulling decision in presidential case (10/21)
Column: Billy Mills still inspires 50 years after Olympic victory (10/21)
Editorial: Winnebago Tribe's business makes a big contribution (10/21)
Lincoln Indian Center adopts permanent alcohol ban after party (10/21)
Suquamish Tribe shares fish from hatchery at annual giveaway (10/21)
Editorial: Bad move by Northern Arapaho Tribe on joint council (10/21)
Wisconsin court to hear appeal over Oneida Nation waste plant (10/21)
Coeur d'Alene Tribe reaches out to family that lost home to fire (10/21)
Closure of Chukchansi Tribe's casino affects reservation water (10/21)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe considers casino on ancestral Ohio site (10/21)
Town meeting for Lac Vieux Desert Band off-reservation casino (10/21)
North Fork Rancheria won't give up off-reservation casino plan (10/21)
Tohono O'odham Nation was looking for off-reservation casino (10/21)
Poarch Creeks won't confirm or deny talks for gaming compact (10/21)
Tim Giago: Deaths of Native men in Rapid City remain unsolved (10/20)
Charles 'Chuck' Trimble: Let Crazy Horse's spirit rest in peace (10/20)
Mark Trahant: Races come down to turnout in three key states (10/20)
Native Sun News: Billy Mills wows youth at Black Hills Powwow (10/20)
Cedric Sunray: Tribes abandon traditional aspects of inclusion (10/20)
Dustina Gill: Vote for Rick Weiland to protect our sacred waters (10/20)
Ousted Project Runway contestant reaffirms Puyallup heritage (10/20)
White House Tribal Nations Conference takes place December 3 (10/20)
Bryan Brewer: Park helps Oglala Sioux Tribe protect its culture (10/20)
Robert Porter: Don't let tribal issues fall prey to partisan politics (10/20)
Gabe Galanda: Abramoff's playbook still used in Indian Country (10/20)
Jay Daniels: Let BIA make changes to rights-of-way regulation (10/20)
Mike McBride: Sovereign goodwill at a low in tribal tax dispute (10/20)
Top Navajo Nation court holds hearing in presidential dispute (10/20)
Eastern Shawnee Tribe to open resort at ancestral site in Ohio (10/20)
Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas selects Lester Randall as new leader (10/20)
Editorial: Address safety concerns about tribal hunts at night (10/20)
Chukchansi Tribe sends layoff notices to most casino workers (10/20)
Rivals raise nearly $16M to block North Fork Rancheria casino (10/20)
Judge won't let BIA proceed with compact for Pojoaque Pueblo (10/20)
Candidates discuss Menominee Nation's off-reservation casino (10/20)
Opinion: Suckers help Chumash Tribe finance casino expansion (10/20)
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.