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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Located in Pennsylvania

The Univ. of Pennsylvania has the 43rd largest collection of unrepatriated Native American remains in the U.S. The institution reported still having the remains of at least 400 Native Americans that it has not made available for return to tribes.

The institution has made available for return 36% of the more than 600 Native American remains that it reported to the federal government.

remains of 230 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 402 Native Americans not made available for return

Where Native American remains reported by the Univ. of Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania reported remains of at least 87 Native Americans with no location information. 20% 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 Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania compares to other institutions

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

The Univ. of Pennsylvania made Native American remains available for return to 102 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
Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei72
Office of Hawaiian Affairs72
O'ahu Island Burial Council67
Chugach Alaska Corporation64
Hawaii Island Burial Council64
Kauai/Niihau Island Burial Council62
Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma23
Kialegee Tribal Town23
Muscogee (Creek) Nation23
Poarch Band of Creek Indians23
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town23
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana22
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians22
Seminole Tribe of Florida22
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma22
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas20
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma12
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma12
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma11
Delaware Tribe of Indians11
Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin11
Cherokee Nation7
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians7
Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin7
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma7
Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California5
Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California5
Table Mountain Rancheria5
Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California5
Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria of California5
Wyandotte Nation5
Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma4
Forest County Potawatomi Community, Wisconsin4
Hannahville Indian Community, Michigan4
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, Michigan (formerly the Huron Potawatomi, Inc.)4
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan and Indiana4
Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation4
Cayuga Nation3
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan3
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma3
Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska3
Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin2
Chickasaw Nation2
Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana2
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma2
Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin2
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe2
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians2
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan2
Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin2
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan2
Leech Lake Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota2
Lower Elwha Tribal Community2
Mille Lacs Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota2
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians2
Oneida Indian Nation in New York2
Oneida Nation of Wisconsin2
Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe2
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin2
White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota2
Bay Mills Indian Community, Michigan1
Bois Forte Band (Nett Lake) of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota1
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes1
Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan)1
Chilkoot Indian Association (Haines)1
Chippewa Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, Montana1
Comanche Nation, Oklahoma1
Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota1
Fond du Lac Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota1
Grand Portage Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota1
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Michigan1
Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas1
Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas1
Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma1
Klamath Tribes1
Kotzebue, Native Village of1
Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of the Lac du Flambeau Reservation of Wisconsin1
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Michigan1
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan1
Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota1
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota1
Modoc Nation1
Osage Nation1
Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma1
Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota1
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota1
Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska1
Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma1
Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa1
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan1
Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska1
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Michigan1
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota1
Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota1
Sitka Tribe of Alaska1
Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Wisconsin1
Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota1
St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin1
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota1
Unalakleet, Native Village of1
Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota1
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe1

The Univ. of Pennsylvania reported making 85% of 75 associated funerary objects available for return to tribes.

The funerary objects were taken along with Native American remains reported by the institution.
64 associated funerary objects made available for return to tribes
at least 11 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