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Protection And Repatriation Of Indigenous Cultural Heritage In The United States

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Chapter Summary

In the United States, federal and state statutes largely define the legal regime for protection and repatriation of indigenous heritage. This chapter summarizes the legislation, with a focus on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), its regulations, and interpretations of it. The largely statutory regime for protecting and repatriating indigenous cultural heritage in the United States is evolving through an important phase of interpretation. For example, although federal laws primarily govern activity on or related to public and tribal lands, they have been interpreted selectively to extend to private institutions receiving federal funds and to private property and transactions related to cultural resources that are subject to federal regulation. NAGPRA has provided a sturdy framework of rules and procedures for stabilizing expectations about the possession, ownership, and disposition of Native American cultural heritage and for effecting both change and compromise in the interest of human rights.

Keywords: federal court litigation; federal laws; human rights; NAGPRA; Native American cultural heritage; state laws



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