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Follow our progress toward repatriation and learn more about NAGPRA compliance.

What is NAGPRA?

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a Federal law enacted in 1990, provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return Native American human remains and cultural items – funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony – to lineal descendants, Indian Tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.



Our Responsibility

In 2018, MDAH began actively participating in NAGPRA by documenting the number of Native Ancestors in our care.

We determine the minimum number of individuals in our care through bioarchaeological examination, which is done only upon consultation with Tribal representatives who have cultural interest in the state of Mississippi. Information gathered as a result of bioarchaeological assessment is the property of MDAH alone. Photography, inappropriate handling or care, additional disruptive analysis, and publication is prohibited unless otherwise determined as acceptable upon Tribal consultation.

Ancestors in Our Care

MDAH Ancestors by County Map

Click the interactive map to identify Mississippi counties with Ancestors and objects in our care.

Active Repatriation 

The transfer of individuals is underway at MDAH. Interact with the map to view active and pending repatriations. Our ethical and legal obligations assist us in transitioning these individuals through active consultation with our Tribal partners. 

NAGPRA step-by-step

Click below for additional information on our step-by-step approach to repatriation.

NAGPRA Procedure

NAGPRA is changing!

View the most recent draft regulations here