On October 27 and 28, 2020, the Association on American Indian Affairs and the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology will co-host a groundbreaking conference to honor the 30th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and examine the future of repatriation work in North America.
November 16, 2020, will mark the 30th anniversary of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. NAGPRA is human rights legislation that provides a process for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Nations, Bands, and Communities to protect and request the return of human remains and cultural items that were taken from their communities. To recognize the importance of this landmark legislation and honor this anniversary, the Association on American Indian Affairs and the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology are partnering to co-host a two-day conference.
This unique event is intended for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Nations, as well as museums, institutions, government agencies, academics, attorneys and others engaged or interested in repatriation work. Attendees will critically analyze the future of NAGPRA and learn how to advance its implementation across disciplines, while gaining a better understanding of the breadth of the repatriation community in the U.S. and abroad. Sessions will focus on developing skills and strategies for moving forward with repatriation work, and fostering stronger relationships across the repatriation field. For those who cannot attend in person, sessions will be live- streamed and archived for future access.
The conference will take place on the University of Denver campus in south Denver, Colorado. Denver is within the traditional territory of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute peoples. At least 45 additional Indian tribes have a legacy of occupation in Colorado. In the mid-20th century, many American Indians were moved to Denver under relocation and employment assistance programs, and today Denver remains a hub of Indian Country. Denver's active urban Indian community includes Cheyenne, Lakota, Kiowa, Navajo, and others from at least 200 tribal nations.
About the hosts
The Association on American Indian Affairs is the oldest non-profit serving Indian Country protecting sovereignty, preserving culture, educating youth and building capacity. The Association was formed in 1922 to change the destructive path of federal policy from assimilation, termination and allotment, to sovereignty, self-determination and self-sufficiency. Throughout its 97-year history, the Association has provided national advocacy on watershed issues that support sovereignty and culture, while working at a grassroots level with Tribes to support the implementation of programs that affect real lives on the ground.
The University of Denver Museum of Anthropology (DUMA) is a teaching museum and laboratory for experiential learning, as well as a research center for students, faculty, and visiting researchers. The museum gallery hosts exhibits curated by DU faculty, graduate students, and community curators and organizations. DUMA is leading an initiative to create a NAGPRA Community of Practice that will support all practitioners and improve implementation by bringing together people with all levels of expertise to connect, collaborate and share knowledge. This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (MG-70-18-0050-18).