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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023


Institutions reported making 22% of the more than 6,600 Native American remains taken from Kentucky available for return to tribes under NAGPRA.

remains of 1,451 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 5,243 Native Americans not made available for return

There are 16 institutions located in Kentucky that reported Native American remains taken from across the country.

InstitutionRemains Not Made Available for ReturnRemains Made Available for Return% of Remains Made Available for Return
University of Kentucky, William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology3,80772116%
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site38310%
Western Kentucky University35121%
University of Louisville259166%
U.S. Department of the Interior12343%
Northern Kentucky University5200%
U.S. Department of Agriculture141246%
Speed Art Museum800%
Filson Historical Society7436%
Capital City Museum500%
Murray State University, Archaeology Laboratory17999%
Kentucky Historical Society02100%
Mercyhurst Univ.07100%
Pioneer Museum, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park03100%
U.S. Department of Defense053100%
U.S. Department of Justice05100%

There are 47 institutions that reported Native American remains taken from Kentucky.

InstitutionRemains Not Made Available for ReturnRemains Made Available for Return% of Remains Made Available for Return
University of Kentucky, William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology3,70772116%
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site38310%
Western Kentucky University29621%
Harvard University24900%
University of Louisville246166%
U.S. Department of the Interior12532%
U.S. Department of Defense5627483%
Northern Kentucky University4700%
Ohio History Connection (formerly the Ohio Historical Society)3200%
Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology, Phillips Academy2300%
Indiana University2100%
U.S. Department of Agriculture141246%
State Museum of Pennsylvania700%
Yale University, Peabody Museum of Natural History600%
American Museum of Natural History519497%
Dayton Museum of Natural History300%
University of Florida, Florida Museum of Natural History300%
University of Memphis300%
Cranbrook Institute of Science200%
New York University, College of Dentistry200%
San Bernardino County Museum200%
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign200%
University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology2250%
Cleveland Museum of Natural History100%
Murray State University, Archaeology Laboratory17699%
Nassau County Department of Parks and Recreation100%
St. Louis Science Center100%
University of Missouri, Columbia, Museum of Anthropology100%
Washington University100%
Western Reserve Historical Society100%
Ball State University, Applied Anthropology Laboratories03100%
Beloit College, Logan Museum of Anthropology05100%
Cincinnati Museum Center, Museum of Natural History and Science01100%
Filson Historical Society03100%
Illinois State Museum02100%
Kentucky Historical Society01100%
Mercyhurst Univ.03100%
Milwaukee Public Museum04100%
National Guard Bureau, Air National Guard096100%
Oregon State University011100%
Pioneer Museum, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park03100%
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History01100%
Tennessee Valley Authority08100%
U.S. Department of Justice03100%
University of Colorado Museum02100%
University of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist03100%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill01100%
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.

Institutions made Native American remains taken from Kentucky available for return to 23 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 Tribe
Shawnee Tribe945
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma932
Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma932
Cherokee Nation597
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians597
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma597
Chickasaw Nation183
Quapaw Nation109
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma15
Muscogee (Creek) Nation10
Osage Nation10
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas8
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana8
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians8
Kialegee Tribal Town8
Poarch Band of Creek Indians8
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma8
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town8
Miami Tribe of Oklahoma6
Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma6
Delaware Nation, Oklahoma3
Delaware Tribe of Indians3
Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana1

Institutions reported Native American remains taken from 99 counties in Kentucky.

CountyRemains Taken From County Not Made Available for ReturnRemains Made Available for Return% of Remains Made Available for Return
McLean County1,08200%
Ohio County1,03600%
Butler County64200%
Ballard County383154%
Jefferson County2249730%
Hopkins County16974%
Boone County1569237%
Edmonson County15611%
Union County140107%
Hart County11700%
Warren County10500%
Henderson County7300%
Barren County6700%
Allen County6600%
Christian County64811%
Logan County583034%
Montgomery County512230%
Russell County4300%
Crittenden County3239%
Henry County3100%
Mason County3120087%
Johnson County30514%
Meade County3000%
Campbell County2800%
Monroe County2100%
Fayette County20417%
Knott County1900%
Garrard County1700%
Bullitt County1600%
Menifee County1600%
Spencer County1600%
Pike County157283%
Wayne County1400%
Wolfe County1400%
Woodford County1400%
Green County1300%
McCracken County13424%
McCreary County12840%
Greenup County1142497%
Hancock County1100%
Bourbon County99591%
Breckinridge County900%
Metcalfe County900%
Muhlenberg County9218%
Breathitt County8327%
Clay County800%
Bath County700%
Estill County7113%
Adair County600%
Bell County61063%
Harlan County600%
Shelby County600%
Whitley County500%
Cumberland County400%
Knox County400%
Bracken County32188%
Jessamine County31179%
Lee County300%
Lewis County3125%
Perry County3240%
Powell County3125%
Todd County300%
Carroll County2360%
Carter County200%
Floyd County2250%
Grayson County200%
Harrison County2571%
Kenton County200%
Lawrence County200%
Leslie County200%
Nicholas County21387%
Owen County200%
Pulaski County200%
Scott County21286%
Simpson County200%
Boyd County100%
Caldwell County1150%
Clark County100%
Fulton County11493%
Hardin County100%
Hickman County100%
Jackson County100%
Letcher County100%
Lincoln County100%
Taylor County100%
Webster County100%
Calloway County06100%
Carlisle County012100%
Casey County03100%
Franklin County010100%
Laurel County01100%
Livingston County03100%
Lyon County0145100%
Madison County01100%
Marshall County06100%
Mercer County02100%
Morgan County01100%
Robertson County03100%
Trigg County052100%
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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