PROPOSED RULE UNDER NAGPRA ON DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS AND CULTURAL ARTIFACTS: Comment Period Open until December 30, 2013

October 29, 2013 Comments Off on PROPOSED RULE UNDER NAGPRA ON DISPOSITION OF HUMAN REMAINS AND CULTURAL ARTIFACTS: Comment Period Open until December 30, 2013

The U.S. Department of the Interior has published its final proposed rule on the disposition of “unclaimed cultural items” found on Federal lands after November 16, 1990. The term “unclaimed cultural items” is defined to include “human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony” excavated or removed after November 16, 1990. The comment period for this proposed rule is open until December 30, 2013.

The proposed rule (which amends 43 C.F.R. Part 10) requires public notice of a U.S. agency’s intent to reinter or otherwise dispose of unclaimed cultural items. Public notice must be given even if the agency intends to transfer the unclaimed cultural items to an Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization. The public notice must be published in general circulation newspaper in the area where the unclaimed cultural items were found and the area(s) where any potential claimants may now reside.

Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990, or NAGPRA, the Secretary of the Interior is required to prepare and implement rules for the disposition of unclaimed cultural items found on Federal land. For purposes of NAGPRA, the term “Federal lands” does not include tribal land. The proposed rule was developed after a long period of consultation with Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, museums, and scientific organizations, which included public meetings in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona.

To learn more and to review the proposed rule, see the notice of the proposed rule or the October 29, 2012 issue of the Federal Register. Comments on the rule can be submitted online here or by mail to Sherry Hutt, Manager, National NAGPRA Program, National Park Service, 1201 Eye Street N.W., 8th Floor, Washington, DC 20005.

We hope that this information helpful, but it should not be taken as legal advice or as establishing an attorney-client relationship. For more information on the legal services offered by the Law Office of James D. Griffith, P.L.L.C., please call (480) 275-8738 or use the “Contact Us” page on our website.

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