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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Located in California

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History reported still having the remains of at least two Native Americans.

The institution has made available for return almost 100% of the more than 1,000 Native American remains that it reported to the federal government.

remains of 1,049 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 2 Native Americans not made available for return

Where Native American remains reported by the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 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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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 Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

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 Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History compares to other institutions

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

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History made Native American remains available for return to 47 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
Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Mission Indians of the Santa Ynez Reservation, California1,011
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria of California22
California Valley Miwok Tribe, California21
Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California21
Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California21
Hopi Tribe of Arizona6
Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico6
Ak-Chin Indian Community3
Gila River Indian Community of the Gila River Indian Reservation, Arizona3
Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah3
Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico3
Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico3
Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico3
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of the Salt River Reservation, Arizona3
Samish Indian Nation3
San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe of Arizona3
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians of Washington3
Swinomish Indian Tribal Community3
Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona3
Tulalip Tribes of Washington3
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe3
Bridgeport Indian Colony2
Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska2
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska2
Bishop Paiute Tribe1
Cherokee Nation1
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians1
Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma1
Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, California1
Guidiville Rancheria of California1
Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin1
Kaw Nation, Oklahoma1
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma1
Nelson Lagoon, Native Village of1
Omaha Tribe of Nebraska1
Osage Nation1
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma1
Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma1
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska1
Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation1
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma1
Shawnee Tribe1
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation1
Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota1
Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California1
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma1
Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe of the Benton Paiute Reservation, California1

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History reported making 100% of more than 36,900 associated funerary objects available for return to tribes.

The funerary objects were taken along with Native American remains reported by the institution.
36,947 associated funerary objects made available for return to tribes
0 associated funerary objects not made available for return
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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