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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023

University of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist

Located in Iowa

The Univ. of Iowa has the 95th largest collection of unrepatriated Native American remains in the U.S. The institution reported still having the remains of at least 100 Native Americans that it has not made available for return to tribes.

The institution has made available for return 91% of the more than 1,200 Native American remains that it reported to the federal government.

remains of 1,095 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 111 Native Americans not made available for return

Where Native American remains reported by the Univ. of Iowa 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 Univ. of Iowa reported remains of at least 36 Native Americans with no location information. 3% 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 Univ. of Iowa

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 Univ. of Iowa compares to other institutions

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

The Univ. of Iowa made Native American remains available for return to 111 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
Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska471
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma471
Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Oklahoma471
Institution could not determine a culturally affiliated tribe and remains were transferred or reinterred according to state or other law462
Omaha Tribe of Nebraska366
Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, North Dakota334
Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma312
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska312
Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin288
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska288
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota280
Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota280
Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska280
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota280
Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska274
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma274
Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa274
Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota274
Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma267
Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation267
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma261
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma208
Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota94
Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota94
Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of the Cheyenne River Reservation, South Dakota88
Oglala Sioux Tribe88
Osage Nation82
Kaw Nation, Oklahoma77
Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma76
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North and South Dakota76
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma75
Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin60
Bois Forte Band (Nett Lake) of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Fond du Lac Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin60
Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Hannahville Indian Community, Michigan60
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan60
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin60
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation of Wisconsin60
Leech Lake Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin60
Mille Lacs Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota60
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin60
Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Wisconsin60
White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota60
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma59
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma54
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma54
Delaware Tribe of Indians54
Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas54
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma54
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians35
Seminole Tribe of Florida35
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma35
Crow Creek Sioux Tribe of the Crow Creek Reservation, South Dakota34
Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation, South Dakota34
Rosebud Sioux Tribe of the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota34
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana22
Apache Tribe of Oklahoma21
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma21
Comanche Nation, Oklahoma21
Crow Tribe of Montana21
Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming21
Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana21
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota12
Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico6
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin6
Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin6
Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California6
Big Sandy Rancheria of Western Mono Indians of California5
Cherokee Nation5
Chickasaw Nation5
Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California5
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma5
Cold Springs Rancheria of Mono Indians of California5
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians5
Hopi Tribe of Arizona5
Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California5
Jackson Band of Miwuk Indians5
Northfork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California5
Ohkay Owingeh, New Mexico (formerly the Pueblo of San Juan)5
Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Isleta, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Laguna, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Nambe, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Picuris, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico5
Pueblo of San Felipe, New Mexico5
Pueblo of San Ildefonso, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Taos, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico5
Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico5
Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California5
Santo Domingo Pueblo5
Shawnee Tribe5
Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians, Shingle Springs Rancheria (Verona Tract), California5
Table Mountain Rancheria5
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria of California5
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo5
Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation, New Mexico5
Caddo Nation of Oklahoma3
Office of Hawaiian Affairs3
Quapaw Nation2
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation1

The Univ. of Iowa reported making 92% of more than 800 associated funerary objects available for return to tribes.

The funerary objects were taken along with Native American remains reported by the institution.
808 associated funerary objects made available for return to tribes
at least 74 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