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The Repatriation Database Data from Nov. 29, 2023

Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona

A federally recognized Indian tribe with headquarters in Arizona

Institutions reported making the remains of more than 5,500 Native Americans available for return to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona.

The tribe was also eligible to claim more than 43,900 associated funerary objects.

Institutions continue to hold the remains of at least 4,300 Native Americans taken from counties known to be of interest to the tribe.*

Where Native American remains made available for return to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona were taken from

Each county is a peak
Height is amount of remains taken from county and made available by institutions for return to tribe
No remains taken from these counties made available for return to tribe
Institution that made remains available for return
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Note: Remains of 21 Native Americans with no location information were made available for return to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona.
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.

These 39 institutions made Native American remains available for return to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona.

InstitutionRemains Made Available for Return To Tribe
University of Arizona, Arizona State Museum1,897
U.S. Department of Agriculture1,611
U.S. Department of the Interior1,298
S'edav Va'aki Museum351
Arizona Museum of Natural History101
Museum of Northern Arizona88
Heard Museum27
Denver Museum of Nature and Science18
University of Colorado Museum17
Arizona State University, School of Human Evolution and Social Change15
Cochise College14
Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology, Phillips Academy8
Arizona State Land Department5
Harvard University5
Pomona College, Montgomery Gallery5
University of Idaho, Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology5
Vassar College5
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History3
Fort Hays State University, Sternburg Museum of Natural History2
Milwaukee Public Museum2
Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner2
San Diego State University2
Texas A and M University2
University of Denver, Museum of Anthropology2
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Anthropology2
American Museum of Natural History1
California Department of Parks and Recreation1
College of Southern Idaho1
Grand Rapids Public Museum1
Indiana University1
Michigan State University1
Minneapolis Institute of Art1
Oakland Museum of California1
Pacific Lutheran University1
Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo1
Princeton University1
U.S. Department of Defense1
University of California, Los Angeles, Fowler Museum of Cultural History1
University of Maine1

Timeline of Native American remains made available for return to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona

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.

These institutions have not made available for return the remains of at least 4,300 Native Americans that were taken from counties known to be of interest to the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona.

These are estimates calculated using remains not made available for return from counties that the tribe has previously been eligible to claim remains from, as well as counties that the tribe has indicated interest in to the federal government. They are not comprehensive figures. The tribe may not wish to claim the remains, and other tribes may also seek to claim them.
InstitutionRemains Not Made Available for Return That Were Taken From Counties of Interest to the Tribe
Univ. of Arizona1,789
Dept. of the Interior804
BIA (758)
Navajo NM (46)
Arizona State Univ.774
Harvard Univ.369
Field Museum271
Dept. of Agriculture127
Tonto NF (85)
Prescott NF (34)
Coconino NF (6)
Apache-Sitgreaves NF (1)
Coronado NF (1)
American Museum of Natural History57
Univ. of California, Berkeley31
Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale13
Univ. of California, Riverside10
Los Angeles County Natural History Museum9
Beloit College8
Museum of New Mexico, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture8
Museum of Northern Arizona8
Eastern Arizona College Foundation4
Dartmouth College3
San Bernardino County Museum3
Univ. of Minnesota, Duluth3
Univ. of Nebraska State Museum3
Bowers Museum2
Brown Univ.2
Univ. of Texas, El Paso2
Brooklyn Museum1
Elgin Public Museum1
Grand Rapids Public Museum1
Grout Museum of History and Science1
Maine Historical Society1
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council1
Museum of Us1
Rochester Museum and Science Center1
S'edav Va'aki Museum1
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History1
Sul Ross State Univ.1
Dept. of Defense1
Univ. of California, Davis1
Univ. of Kansas1
Univ. of Michigan1
Univ. of New Mexico1
Univ. of Pennsylvania1
Yale Univ.1
Counties of interest used in estimate include: Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai and Yuma in Arizona. Riverside in California.
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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