DOI adopts rule to remove Native corporations from NAGPRA

The Interior Department has finalized a rule to clarify the definition of "Indian tribe" under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires.

Alaska Native corporations are no longer included on the list of federally recognized tribes, DOI said in a notice that was published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The change is effective immediately.

DOI first proposed to remove Alaska Native corporations from the list in July 2011. It's not clear why it took the Obama administration three years to finalize the rule since only one comment from the public was received in that time.

Section 2 of NAGPRA defines "Indian tribe" as:
[A]ny tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any Alaska Native village (as defined in, or established pursuant to, the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Federally recognized Alaska Native villages fall under the definition of "Indian tribe, according to a March 2011 memo from DOI's Office of the Solicitor. But Alaska Native regional and village corporations do not, the memo stated

Federal Register Notices:
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Regulations, Definition of Indian Tribe (June 11, 2014)
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Regulations- Definition of “Indian Tribe” (July 5, 2011)

Relevant Documents:
Solicitor's Memo to NPS (March 18, 2011)

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