Dear campus community,
The UC Office of the President issued the Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Interim Policy on July 24, 2020 to clarify the process by which all UC campuses will implement the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and California NAGPRA (CalNAGPRA). NAGPRA protects Native American graves and requires repatriation of Native American human remains and certain cultural items (funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony). Repatriation is the process of returning Native American ancestral human remains and certain cultural items to their indigenous communities. The interim policy substantially revised the previous policy to promote the repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural items, and to increase accountability and transparency across all UC campuses. UCI is fully committed to the goal of repatriation as well as implementation of this policy and relevant laws.
I write to raise awareness of new policy requirements, affirm the campus’s commitment to the guiding principles and procedures, provide mechanisms to report if you believe you or others may hold Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items, and enlist your assistance ensuring the campus fully complies with this important human rights policy. In particular, I want to draw your attention to the following significant elements of the new policy, which:
- Articulates principles that the repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains is a fundamental objective and value of the university.
- Requires campuses to proactively review existing collections or other holdings that may potentially contain Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items.
- Prohibits the use of Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items in research or instruction activities without tribal approval.
- Requires the university to consult with tribes regarding traditional care practices.
- Provides mechanisms for tribes to file appeals and complaints if they disagree with campus actions or decisions under the policy.
- Provides a mechanism for members of the campus community to report Native American human remains and cultural items that are not being properly maintained or properly reported.
- Requires each campus to perform a review of all departments and units historically engaged in studies with human remains or cultural items and all departments or units identified by deans, department chairs, or unit heads as potentially holding human remains or cultural items, in order to identify previously unreported human remains or cultural items.
Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Douglas Haynes serves as the Chancellor’s Designee under this interim policy. He is responsible for campus oversight, compliance, and decision-making associated with this policy, NAGPRA, and CalNAGPRA. Office of Inclusive Excellence Associate Director Joseph Morales serves as the Campus Point of Contact under the policy.
In preparation for the campuswide review described above, I will be writing to deans, department chairs, and unit heads with further instructions in the coming weeks. I kindly request the cooperation of all UCI faculty, staff and students with Vice Chancellor Haynes and their department heads as needed in carrying out this review.
For updated information regarding the Policy, including a current distribution of a new draft to move the policy from interim to final, please visit https://ucal.us/nagpra. For additional information regarding the campus’s NAGPRA compliance efforts, please visit https://inclusion.uci.edu/nagpra/. Please contact Joseph Morales with any questions regarding the policy or if you believe you or others may hold Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items. We appreciate your attention and full cooperation with this policy.
Hal S. Stern, Ph.D.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Statistics