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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023

Field Museum

Located in Illinois · Read the institution’s response

The Field Museum has the 20th largest collection of unrepatriated Native American remains in the U.S. The institution reported still having the remains of at least 1,200 Native Americans that it has not made available for return to tribes.

The institution has made available for return 30% of the more than 1,800 Native American remains that it reported to the federal government.

remains of 565 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 1,298 Native Americans not made available for return

Where Native American remains reported by the Field Museum were taken from

Each county is a peak
Height is the minimum amount of remains taken from county, as reported by institution
Color is reported rate of remains made available for return to tribes
Institution reported no remains taken from these counties
Location of institution
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Note: The Field Museum reported remains of at least 44 Native Americans with no location information. 73% of these remains were made available for return to tribes.
Under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, when an institution establishes a connection between tribes and remains, it must publish a list of the tribes eligible to make a repatriation claim. The remains are then made available for return to the tribe(s). Once a tribal claim is made, physical transfer may occur. Many remains have been physically returned to tribes, but data on this is spotty because the law does not require institutions to report when these transfers occur.

Timeline of Native American remains made available for return to tribes by the Field Museum

Tribal and institutional capacity, funding, staffing, regulatory changes, audits, Review Committee decisions and litigation may influence timelines. Under NAGPRA, institutions determine whether Native American remains may be returned through cultural affiliation using evidence such as tribal traditional knowledge and biological and archaeological links, or through disposition based on geographic affiliation.

How the Field Museum compares to other institutions

The amount of Native American remains still held by institutions ranges widely.

The Field Museum made Native American remains available for return to 134 tribes.

Institutions often make remains available for return to multiple tribes, so the amount of remains listed below may be counted for more than one tribe.
TribeRemains Made Available for Return To
Hopi Tribe of Arizona367
Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico87
Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico64
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin52
Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin43
Hannahville Indian Community, Michigan43
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan43
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Michigan (formerly the Huron Potawatomi, Inc.)43
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana43
Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation43
Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas42
Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas42
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma42
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma42
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma42
Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin38
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma37
Delaware Tribe of Indians37
Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin25
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska25
Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska21
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma21
Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma21
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California13
Cayuga Nation10
Seneca-Cayuga Nation10
La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians, California9
Pala Band of Mission Indians9
Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Pauma and Yuima Reservation, California9
Pechanga Band of Indians9
Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians9
Seneca Nation of Indians9
Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, California9
Tonawanda Band of Seneca9
White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona9
Oneida Indian Nation in New York7
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin7
Onondaga Nation7
Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California7
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe7
Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California7
Table Mountain Rancheria7
Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California7
Tuscarora Nation7
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana5
Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico5
Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley4
Burns Paiute Tribe4
Chemehuevi Indian Tribe of the Chemehuevi Reservation, California4
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma4
Colorado River Indian Tribes of the Colorado River Indian Reservation, Arizona and California4
Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Nevada and Utah4
Crow Tribe of Montana4
Fort Independence Indian Community of Paiute Indians of the Fort Independence Reservation, California4
Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribes of the Fort McDermitt Indian Reservation, Nevada and Oregon4
Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians of the Kaibab Indian Reservation, Arizona4
Koniag, Inc.4
Las Vegas Tribe of Paiute Indians of the Las Vegas Indian Colony, Nevada4
Lovelock Paiute Tribe of the Lovelock Indian Colony, Nevada4
Moapa Band of Paiute Indians of the Moapa River Indian Reservation, Nevada4
Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming4
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico (formerly the Pueblo of San Juan)4
Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah4
Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico4
Pueblo of San Felipe, New Mexico4
Pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico4
Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico4
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of the Pyramid Lake Reservation, Nevada4
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona4
Santo Domingo Pueblo4
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation4
Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation, Nevada4
Southern Ute Indian Tribe of the Southern Ute Reservation, Colorado4
Summit Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada4
Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Utah4
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe4
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe of the Benton Paiute Reservation, California4
Walker River Paiute Tribe of the Walker River Reservation, Nevada4
Yerington Paiute Tribe of the Yerington Colony and Campbell Ranch, Nevada4
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo4
Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma3
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation3
Kialegee Tribal Town3
Muscogee (Creek) Nation3
Poarch Band of Creek Indians3
Teller, Native Village of3
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town3
Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana2
Coquille Indian Tribe2
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho2
Larsen Bay, Native Village of2
Penobscot Nation2
Seminole Tribe of Florida2
Akhiok, Native Village of1
Akhiok-Kaguyak, Inc.1
Cape Fox Corporation1
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota1
Chippewa Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana1
Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma1
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation1
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota1
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota1
Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana1
Hydaburg Cooperative Association1
Kaguyak Village1
Karluk, Native Village of1
Leisnoi, Inc.1
Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana1
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation, South Dakota1
Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota1
Natives of Kodiak, Inc.1
Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana1
Oglala Sioux Tribe1
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma1
Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota1
Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota1
Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska1
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota1
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota1
Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota1
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota1
Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak1
Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota1
Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota1

The Field Museum reported making 31% of more than 1,400 associated funerary objects available for return to tribes.

The funerary objects were taken along with Native American remains reported by the institution.
443 associated funerary objects made available for return to tribes
at least 964 associated funerary objects not made available for return

The Field Museum’s response:

In a statement, the Field Museum said that data kept by the National Park Service is out of date. (The museum publishes separate data on its website that it says is frequently updated and more accurate.) A spokesperson told ProPublica that “all Native American human remains under NAGPRA are available for return.” The museum's website states, “Outreach, relationship building, and collaboration with descendant communities is part of the repatriation process at the Field Museum.”

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About the Data

This tool presents a dataset maintained by the National Park Service containing all the Native American human remains and associated funerary objects that institutions have reported to the federal government under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The dataset includes information about the state and county where remains and objects were taken from, which institutions hold them and whether they have been made available for return to tribes.

The data is self-reported by institutions. The amount of unrepatriated Native American remains reported by institutions is a minimum estimate of individuals and institutions frequently adjust these numbers when they reinventory groups of remains. Some institutions that are subject to NAGPRA have also entirely failed to report the remains in their possession. As a result, the numbers provided are best taken as estimates. The actual number and geographic scope of what’s held by publicly funded institutions is larger than what is presently documented.

ProPublica supplemented this dataset with information about cultural affiliation and disposition to specific tribes by systematically parsing the text of Notices of Inventory Completion published in the Federal Register. An additional dataset from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Tribal Directory Assessment Tool, was used for the section on remains not made available for return from counties that each tribe has indicated interest in to the federal government.

Institution location and tribal headquarters location information was provided by National NAGPRA. The location of some groups that are not federally recognized was provided through research by ProPublica.

Institutions that are part of a larger entity are grouped. (For example, the Mesa Verde National Park is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.)

Institutions that have not submitted information to the federal government are not listed. The Smithsonian Institution is not listed because its repatriation process falls under the National Museum of the American Indian Act and it is not required to publicly report its holdings with the same detail as institutions subject to NAGPRA.

If you work for an institution and would like to provide comment on your institution’s repatriation efforts, please email [email protected]. If you think the data is incorrect or have a data request, please get in touch. We are aware of some issues with the accuracy of location information and tribes mistakenly being identified for disposition of Native American remains in published notices.

If you want to share something else with ProPublica, we’d like to hear from you.

If you have questions about implementing or complying with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, get in touch with National NAGPRA or the NAGPRA Community of Practice.

We use the word “tribes” to refer to all groups that institutions made Native American remains available to under NAGPRA. This includes tribes, nations, bands, pueblos, communities, Native Alaskan villages, Native Hawaiian organizations and non-federally recognized groups.

Data sources from Department of the Interior, National Park Service, National NAGPRA Program, the Federal Register, Department of Housing and Development, Tribal Directory Assessment Tool