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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023


Institutions reported making 41% of the more than 4,200 Native American remains taken from Oklahoma available for return to tribes under NAGPRA.

remains of 1,732 Native Americans made available for return to tribes
remains of at least 2,498 Native Americans not made available for return

There are 10 institutions located in Oklahoma 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 Oklahoma2,3241,35837%
Gilcrease Museum27133155%
U.S. Department of Defense20716745%
No Man's Land Historical Society1900%
Oklahoma Historical Society1200%
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art1150%
University of Tulsa, Department of Anthropology15198%
Museum of the Great Plains02100%
U.S. Department of Justice01100%
U.S. Department of the Interior087100%

There are 25 institutions that reported Native American remains taken from Oklahoma.

InstitutionRemains Not Made Available for ReturnRemains Made Available for Return% of Remains Made Available for Return
University of Oklahoma2,2431,34938%
U.S. Department of Defense20816644%
Gilcrease Museum17315%
No Man's Land Historical Society700%
University of North Texas600%
Houston Museum of Natural Science500%
West Texas A and M University, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum300%
Harvard University23294%
Tioga Point Museum200%
Indiana University100%
University of Arkansas15298%
University of Memphis100%
University of Southern Mississippi, Department of Anthropology and Sociology100%
University of Tulsa, Department of Anthropology13097%
Baylor University, Mayborn Museum Complex01100%
Colorado College01100%
Heard Museum02100%
History Colorado01100%
Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art01100%
Museum of the Great Plains02100%
U.S. Department of Justice01100%
U.S. Department of the Interior087100%
University of Iowa, Office of the State Archaeologist01100%
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology02100%
University of Texas at Austin, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory01100%
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 Oklahoma available for return to 35 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
Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Wichita, Keechi, Waco and Tawakonie), Oklahoma1,445
Caddo Nation of Oklahoma1,282
Osage Nation37
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma30
Chickasaw Nation27
Comanche Nation, Oklahoma27
Muscogee (Creek) Nation22
Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Oklahoma18
Kialegee Tribal Town18
Quapaw Nation18
The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma18
Thlopthlocco Tribal Town18
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma17
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians16
Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma16
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians16
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma13
Apache Tribe of Oklahoma10
Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma8
Cherokee Nation5
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma5
Northern Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming2
Northern Cheyenne Tribe of the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation, Montana2
Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma2
Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma2
Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe2
Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma1
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas1
Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana1
Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico1
Lineal Descendant1
Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico1
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians1
Poarch Band of Creek Indians1
Seminole Tribe of Florida1

Institutions reported Native American remains taken from 58 counties in Oklahoma.

CountyRemains Taken From County Not Made Available for ReturnRemains Made Available for Return% of Remains Made Available for Return
Le Flore County1,77662726%
Delaware County2028028%
Bryan County11365%
McCurtain County671215%
Sequoyah County6634%
Mayes County4400%
Caddo County181138%
Choctaw County179485%
Tulsa County1700%
Woodward County1516%
Roger Mills County13213%
Texas County1100%
Canadian County10217%
Pawnee County81970%
Washita County77792%
Beckham County51979%
Blaine County500%
Greer County57093%
Nowata County5550%
Beaver County400%
Cherokee County45293%
Haskell County4233%
Adair County300%
Cotton County3667%
Harmon County300%
Logan County300%
McIntosh County317398%
Muskogee County33291%
Oklahoma County32188%
Osage County3350%
Wagoner County38397%
Cimarron County2133%
Kay County21083%
Kiowa County21286%
Lincoln County2133%
Comanche County12796%
Craig County100%
Custer County11794%
Ellis County100%
Garfield County1267%
Latimer County15398%
Major County100%
Pottawatomie County1375%
Atoka County04100%
Carter County01100%
Cleveland County01100%
Coal County01100%
Garvin County036100%
Grady County016100%
Hughes County04100%
Johnston County05100%
McClain County062100%
Marshall County021100%
Murray County01100%
Payne County02100%
Pittsburg County04100%
Pontotoc County08100%
Stephens County03100%
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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