Systemwide review of revised Presidential Policy on Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation

The Office of the President invites comments on proposed revisions to the Presidential Policy on Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation.


The proposed draft revises the existing Policy and Procedures on Curation and Repatriation of Human Remains and Cultural Items. The policy addresses the treatment and repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains and cultural items under the University’s stewardship and the University’s compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.


The proposed draft was developed by the Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy Advisory established by Provost Brown. The group is comprised of four members nominated by the Academic Senate, and four members nominated by the Native American Advisory Council, a body established by President Napolitano to advise on a broad range of issues pertaining to Native Americans and Native Hawaiians at the University.


The proposed draft policy is available online.


The revised policy is substantially different and more detailed than the currently issued policy (2001). Significant updates include:


  • Creates a list of principles that emphasizes the repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains as a fundamental objective and value of the University. Proposed draft, § III.B.
  • Reconstitutes the Systemwide Committee and Campus Committees to strengthen Native American representation. Proposed draft, § V.A.
  • Shifts final approvals of repatriation to the campus from UCOP to reduce delays in repatriation; the Systemwide Committee and UCOP will provide an oversight role and consider appeals of campus decisions. Proposed draft, § V.E.4.
  • Requires campuses to appoint a NAGPRA liaison to work with and assist Native American tribes to facilitate repatriation. Proposed draft, §§ IV.6 & V.B.
  • Describes a process for disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains, which has been enacted in federal regulations since 2010 and was allowable under the current policy but had not been explicitly stated. Proposed draft, § V.E.3.
  • Requires campuses to create a Strategic Repatriation Plan. Proposed draft, § V.F.
  • Requires campuses to proactively (i) review existing materials that may potentially contain Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items; and (ii) reevaluate previous determinations of culturally unidentifiable human remains in consultation with Native American tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Proposed draft, § V.C.3.
  • Establishes as policy the respectful stewardship of human remains and cultural items when in the University’s care. Proposed draft, § V.I.
  • Establishes tribal consultation and approval requirements for access to human remains for research, instruction, exhibition, or other purposes. Proposed draft, § V.I.4.
  • Provides a more robust mechanism for Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to appeal campus determinations. Proposed draft, § V.H.


Comments may be submitted to the Policy Coordination Office at by the end of business on November 14, 2019.