Mary Hudetz


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Mary Hudetz is a reporter focusing on tribal issues throughout the Southwest.

She joined ProPublica from the Seattle Times’ investigative team, where she helped lead coverage of COVID-19’s spread inside the Life Care Center of Kirkland nursing home, site of the nation’s first known coronavirus outbreak. That work was selected as a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation’s breaking news award.

Previously, she was a law enforcement reporter for the Associated Press in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and an editor for AP’s West Regional Desk in Phoenix. An enrolled member of the Crow Tribe in Montana, Hudetz is a past president of the Native American Journalists Association. She has extensive experience investigating and writing about issues facing Native Americans and tribes, particularly in the Southwest. In 2019, her reporting with two AP colleagues on cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women won several awards, including a Dori J. Maynard Award for Justice in Journalism from the News Leaders Association.

Hudetz’s work at ProPublica will focus on investigating tribal issues throughout the region. She will be based in Albuquerque.

Some Museums Scrambled to Remove Native American Items From Display. These Museums Didn’t Need to.

Under new repatriation rules, museums must gain consent from Native American tribes before displaying their cultural items. Some museums rushed to comply, but others, such as the Museum of Us and History Colorado, were prepared to meet the moment.

Senator Urges Museums to Return Native Remains and Objects: “Give the Items Back. Comply With Federal Law. Hurry.”

In a Senate floor speech that centered America’s colonial history, Brian Schatz said institutions have a moral obligation to comply with federal repatriation law. He demanded urgent action.

The American Museum of Natural History to Close Exhibits Displaying Native American Belongings

The change is in response to new federal regulations that went into effect this month following reporting by ProPublica on institutional failures to return Native American remains and sacred objects to tribes.

The Remains of Thousands of Native Americans Were Returned to Tribes This Year

Following decades of Indigenous activism and the 2023 publication of ProPublica’s “Repatriation Project,” federal officials have seen more activity leading to the return of ancestral remains to tribal nations than any other year since 1990.

New Federal Rules Aim to Speed Repatriations of Native Remains and Burial Items

The new Interior Department regulations address long-criticized loopholes and issues identified by ProPublica’s reporting. They will go into effect in 2024.

Tribes in Maine Spent Decades Fighting to Rebury Ancestral Remains. Harvard Resisted Them at Nearly Every Turn.

The university’s Peabody Museum exploited loopholes to prevent repatriation to the Wabanaki people while still staying in compliance with NAGPRA. The tribes didn’t give up.

UC Berkeley Takes Significant Step to Repatriate 4,400 Native American Human Remains

It would be the largest repatriation by far at an institution that holds more than 9,000 ancestral remains and has lagged behind in returning its holdings under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

We Carry the Burden of Repatriating Our Ancestors. Here’s What It’s Like to Report on the Process as an Indigenous Journalist.

Mary Hudetz describes the financial cost and emotional distress that tribal communities face as they continue to wait for the return of the remains of their ancestors, thousands of which are held in museums across the country.

A Scientist Said Her Research Could Help With Repatriation. Instead, It Destroyed Native Remains.

Federal agencies have awarded millions of dollars to scientific studies on Native American human remains, undermining the goals of NAGPRA as tribes fight for repatriation.

Senate Committee Probes Top Universities, Museums Over Failures to Repatriate Human Remains

U.S. senators want five institutions to explain why they continue to hold thousands of Native American remains and belongings, following reporting from ProPublica and NBC News. “It’s immoral, it’s hypocritical, and it has to stop,” one senator said.

Dozens of Museums and Universities Pledge to Return Native American Remains. Few Have Funded the Effort.

Reporting from nearly 50 local newsrooms, based on ProPublica’s “Repatriation Project,” has sparked a wave of apologies and commitment to returning ancestral remains. But without funding for the work tribal nations could still face empty promises.

A Top UC Berkeley Professor Taught With Remains That May Include Dozens of Native Americans

Despite decades of Indigenous activism and resistance, UC Berkeley has failed to return the remains of thousands of Native Americans to tribes. The university is still discovering more human remains.

Help Us Investigate Museums’ Failure to Return Native American Human Remains and Cultural Items

Do you know about how museums and other institutions are handling the repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural items under NAGPRA? We want to hear from you.

Behind ProPublica’s Reporting on Repatriation

Our reporters answer frequently asked questions about The Repatriation Project from leaders and citizens of tribal nations.

America’s Biggest Museums Fail to Return Native American Human Remains

The remains of more than 100,000 Native Americans are held by prestigious U.S. institutions, despite a 1990 law meant to return them to tribal nations. Here’s how the ancestors were stolen — and how tribes are working to get them back.

Help Us Investigate Museums’ Failure to Return Native American Human Remains and Cultural Items

Do you know about how museums and other institutions are handling the repatriation of Native American human remains and cultural items under NAGPRA? We want to hear from you.

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