Museums consider challenge to new NAGPRA regulations
Some museums and educational institutions are considering a legal challenge to new Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act regulations that require them to consult tribes about "culturally unidentifiable" ancestors.

According to Nature, the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University might challenge the rule. The Peabody has one of the largest collections of ancestors that haven't been repatriated.

The rule goes into effect May 14. It sets up a process for institutions and tribes to reach an agreement to determine what to do with the remains.

"This is a major departure, going way beyond the intent of the original law," John O'Shea, a curator at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, told Nature. The museum sent out a press release last week saying it would work with tribes.

Get the Story:
Rule poses threat to museum bones (Nature 3/31)

Federal Register Notice:
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Regulations--Disposition of Culturally Unidentifiable Human Remains; Final Rule (March 15, 2010)

Related Stories:
University of Michigan to consult tribes about ancestors (3/17)
NPS finalizes NAGPRA rule on 'unidentifiable' ancestors (3/16)