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Racial Justice

The Repatriation Project

The Delayed Return of Native Remains

America’s institutions hold human remains and sacred items taken from the graves of tens of thousands of Native Americans. A federal law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, was meant to help return them, but decades after its 1990 passage, many tribes are still waiting.

Impact of Our Reporting

The Repatriation Project

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

When new federal repatriation rules went into effect last month, some museums quickly removed Native American items from display. But others were prepared to meet the moment.

The Repatriation Project

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 Repatriation Project

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 Repatriation Project

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.

The Repatriation Project

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.

The Repatriation Project

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.

The Repatriation Project

A New Illinois Law Shifts Repatriation and Reburial Power to Tribal Nations

For the first time, tribal nations forcibly removed from Illinois will have final say in how and when the remains of their ancestors will be returned to them.

The Repatriation Project

The Met Will “More Thoroughly” Investigate Artwork Origins With Hire of Provenance Researchers

The museum announced this week that it will hire additional experts to look more deeply into the histories of works in its collections. The plans follow news reports and criminal investigations on the origins of some items.

The Repatriation Project

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.

The Repatriation Project

Sweeping Repatriation Reform Bill Unanimously Passes Illinois House of Representatives

If signed into law, the legislation would create a protected cemetery for the reburial of repatriated Native American ancestors and establish a committee of tribal leaders to review state projects that may disturb culturally significant sites.

The Repatriation Project

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

Reporting from local newsrooms, based on ProPublica’s “Repatriation Project,” has sparked a wave of apologies and commitment to returning ancestral remains.

Mary Hudetz Honored with 2024 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Journalism

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

A Prominent Museum Obtained Items From a Massacre of Native Americans in 1895. The Survivors’ Descendants Want Them Back.

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

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

Is the Metropolitan Museum of Art Displaying Objects That Belong to Native American Tribes?

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

How to Report on the Repatriation of Native American Remains at Museums and Universities Near You

How a Tourist Attraction Displaying the Open Graves of Native Americans Became a State-Run Museum

The Museum Built on Native American Burial Mounds

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

Behind ProPublica’s Reporting on Repatriation