Senate bill revives disputed NAGPRA amendment

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee approved a bill last Thursday to amend the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

S.2078, the Native American Omnibus Technical Corrections Act, changes the definition of "Native American" under NAGPRA. It allows the repatriation of ancestors and artifacts that aren't linked to present-day tribes.

The amendment is a response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the Kennewick Man case. The court said the 9,200-year-old man, who was found on a former reservation, is not Native American because he cannot be linked to a present-day tribe.

Tribes support the proposed change but the Bush administration opposed it at a hearing in July 2005. A group of scientists who sued the government to study Kennewick Man also oppose the amendment.

Get the Bill:
A bill to amend certain laws relating to Native Americans to make technical corrections, and for other purposes (S.2087)

Court Decision:
BONNICHSEN v. US (February 4, 2004)

$rl National NAGPRA -

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