Education | Environment | Law

Supreme Court declines NAGPRA case affecting Kumeyaay Nation

The University House at the University of California-San Diego. The ancestral remains were discovered on the grounds. Photo from UCSD

The U.S. Supreme Court has never heard a Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act case and that record will be continuing for the foreseeable future.

The justices on Monday declined to hear a NAGPRA case involving the 12 tribes of the Kumeyaay Nation. The tribes have been trying to rebury remains that were uncovered on the grounds of the chancellor’s residence at the University of California in San Diego but some professors are objecting.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled that a lawsuit against the university could not proceed without the involvement of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee. But since the tribes enjoy sovereign immunity, they cannot be joined without the consent.

Indianz.Com SoundCloud: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Arguments in White v. University of California

That decision now stands a result of the Supreme Court's order, which was issued without comment. But it doesn't mean that the tribes will get to rebury their ancestors -- the the university has yet to make a final determination on the matter.

The case is White v. Regents of the University of California. The docket sheet is No. 15-667.

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)

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