Harjo: Restore NAGPRA to original intent

"New legislation to restore repatriation law to its original intent has broad support in Indian country and should be supported by all fair-minded people. It has drawn hysterical reactions and misrepresentations in the mainstream press from those who never wanted repatriation law in the first place.

The legislation proposes to add 13 words to the definition of ''Native American'' in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990. The definition now reads: '''Native American' means of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture that is indigenous to the United States.''

Under the new legislation, the definition, with the clarifying words in italic, would read: '''Native American' means of, or relating to, a tribe, people, or culture that is or was indigenous to any geographic area that is now located within the boundaries of the United States.''

NAGPRA recognized Native Americans' human rights, civil rights, religious rights, family rights and scientific rights. It recognized the rights of living peoples to examine their past under terms consistent with their customs and traditions. This amendment would restore Native peoples' voices in these matters. It's time for Congress to put NAGPRA back together again."

Get the Story:
Suzan Shown Harjo: It's time to put NAGPRA back together again (Indian Country Today 10/12)

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