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Post-Annual Repatriation Conference

Thank you to everyone who contributed to and participated in the 6th Annual Repatriation Conference, co-hosted by the Association on American Indian Affairs and the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology. It was a jam-packed three days with 15 concurrent sessions, 4 plenary sessions, 3 workshops, and 2 lunch sessions. There were over 700 registered attendees, many of whom watched live. Attendees who missed sessions can watch recordings through the conference platform for the next three months.

The conference was made possible by the many presenters who shared their expertise. I hope we can continue some of the conversations in future NAGPRA Community of Practice bi-monthly calls. I have made note of a few issues that came up in sessions and on the chat boards that might be good areas for further discussion.

  • The burden on Tribes of having to come up with overwhelming evidence for the purpose of cultural affiliation determinations. We need more training for museum practitioners on the appropriate burden of proof that needs to be met.

  • Issues related to Section 3 (new discoveries) and how state law interacts with NAGPRA when it comes to new discoveries.

  • Self-care for NAGPRA practitioners. How do we take care of ourselves emotionally and spiritually when doing this work and having these difficult conversations?

  • Issues related to individuals with no known cultural affiliation including the lack of consultation in making original determinations.

Now that the Repatriation Conference is over, I’d like to refocus our efforts on the NAGPRA Community of Practice. I really appreciate all the support and encouragement that I have received. I’d like to create a small steering committee of perhaps 5 or 6 people to help transition the NAGPRA Community of Practice into the post-grant years. If you are interested in being a part of the steering committee, please reach out to me at

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