Since the 1960s, Indian activists have patiently asserted their rights and interests in the proper and respectful treatment of Indian human remains and cultural objects. Today, we appreciate the legal rights and religious values of Native peoples due in part to several federal laws, the Civil Rights Act (1964), the American Indian Movement (founded in 1968), the Indian Civil Rights Act (1968), the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (1978), and most recently, NMAI Act (1989) and NAGPRA (1990).
As a result, it is now broadly accepted that the intentional excavation of Indian burials and inadvertent discovery of burials during commercial development projects must involve consultation with appropriate descendant communities. In addition, it is increasingly accepted that Indian peoples have a legitimate interest in returning certain cultural items to their communities and in the disposition of ancestral Indian human remains in museum collections. NAGPRA has broadened American anthropology by requiring the profession to confront its colonialist past as a means of envisioning a new and more inclusive future.
On 16 November 1990, “The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act” (PL 101-601) was signed into law. This act mandates the return of specific kinds of objects to Native Americans, makes illegal their trafficking across state lines, and is specific about the process and procedures for archaeological excavations. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) is primarily affected by the first of these three requirements, involving museum collections. Five categories of objects are identified in the law: human remains, associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, objects of cultural patrimony, and sacred objects.
Since the passage of NAGPRA, and in compliance with the law, the Penn Museum has mailed over 3000 letters to federally recognized tribes informing them of our holdings and extending invitations to consult with us about our holdings. As of 2023, 60 formal repatriation claims under NAGPRA seeking the return of collections have been received and 39 repatriations have been completed—resulting in the transfer of 270 sets of human remains, 752 associated funerary objects, 11 unassociated funerary objects, 23 objects of cultural patrimony, 8 sacred objects, and 6 objects claimed as both cultural patrimony and sacred. In addition, 19 sets of human remains have currently completed the NAGPRA process and are awaiting return at the discretion of the affiliated Tribes.
In the spirit of the law, Penn Museum’s repatriation staff has worked vigorously to accurately inventory and research our collections, and to inform, consult and cooperate successfully with tribes about the items in our care. Observing and listening to native representatives talk about the objects has in several cases been especially rewarding and informative - in a very real sense, it has brought life to the collections.
NAGPRA has simultaneously forced us to face a variety of difficult challenges, some solutions to which are still evolving as the repatriation process unfolds. Finding common ground between native interpretations of the law and those of the Museum has been a particular test, and it is in this area that ongoing discussions with tribes are most often focused.
For more information about NAGPRA please see the National Park Service (U.S. Department of the Interior) National NAGPRA website.
Inquiries about repatriation concerns and procedures should be submitted in writing to:
Christopher Woods, Ph.D.
3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6324
NAGPRA provides a legal mechanism for federally recognized tribes, native Alaskan corporations, and native Hawaiian organizations to make claims for human remains and certain categories of cultural objects held by American museums that receive federal funding. In complying with the law, the Penn Museum and the University of Pennsylvania acknowledge the historical and political context of Indian peoples in the United States, and recognize tribal rights of self-determination in regard to the control of human remains, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.
Between 1876 and 1894, twenty-two cultural items were recovered from unidentified locations near Trenton in Mercer County, NJ, by Charles C. Abbott (b. 1843-d. 1919). The items were donated to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia likely between 1876 and 1894. Collections from Philadelphia’s Academy were loaned to the Penn Museum in 1936/1937 and gifted formally to the Museum in 1997. Based on archeological, consultation, historical, linguistic, oral traditional, and geographic information, the cultural items date to the Woodland Period and were most likely associated with the Delaware (Lenape). Today, the Delaware (Lenape) are represented by three Federal Indian Tribes—the Delaware Nation, Oklahoma; Delaware Tribe of Indians; and the Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin. Consultation by Penn Museum professional staff was conducted with the federal Tribes between over a four-year period beginning in 2016. These items were transferred to the Tribes in 2022.
In 1890 Native American human remains representing two individuals were excavated near Trenton, New Jersey. Consultation was conducted with Penn Museum staff and representatives of the Delaware Nation, Oklahoma; Delaware Tribe of Indians; and the Stockbridge Munsee Community, Wisconsin between 1997 and 2021. The human remains were determined to be culturally affiliated with the three Delaware (Lenape) groups and transferred to the Tribes in 2022.
Native American human remains representing one individual and twelve associated funerary objects were repatriated to the Sitka Tribe of Alaska in 2019. The human remains were removed from a cave in 1931 located on Baranof Island in the Peril Strait, Alaska by Penn Museum curator Louis Shotridge (Tlingit). Between 1998 and 2017 Penn Museum professional staff conducted consultation with Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes; Chilkat Indian Village (Klukwan); Chilkoot Indian Association (Haines); Hoonah Indian Association; Sitka Tribe of Alaska; Yakutat Tlingit Tribe; and Sealaska Corporation, a non-federally recognized entity. For more details see the Federal Register Notice.
Two clan hats approved for repatriation by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 were transferred to Tlingit tribal officials on July 17, 2016. Mr. Harold Jacobs, Cultural Preservation Specialist of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA), received the Raven of the Roof Hat and basketry Whale Hat on behalf of L’ooknax.adi (Coho) Clan leader, Mr. Herman Davis, of Sitka. In a brief presentation, Jacobs noted the diligence with which Louis Shotridge, the early 20th century Tlingit collector and Penn Museum Assistant Curator, recorded the names of the previous owners and histories of the hats. Jacobs and Tlingit clan representatives Gilbert Fred, Daniel Brown, Mike Kinville, Hans Chester, and Joe Valley studied the Shotridge collection in storage during their brief visit. They sang songs that “breathed life back into” the old objects and gained strength from seeing their family heirlooms. In thanking the Museum, Jacobs underscored the need for accuracy in recording clan histories, and praised the Museum’s role in cultural preservation. He stated that his people have a strong interest in maintaining an ongoing relationship with the Penn Museum.
The basketry Whale Hat (NA10511) was collected by Louis Shotridge in 1925. Made of woven spruce root, with a wooden dorsal fin, human hair, abalone shell, and black pigment depicting a killer whale with open mouth, the 19th century hat was made to commemorate the dedication of the Whale House of the L’ooknax.adi (Coho) Clan at Sitka. The hat will be returned to ceremonial use by the Clan.
Collected by Louis Shotridge in 1925, the Raven of the Roof Hat was repatriated by CCTHITA on behalf of the Tlingit L’ooknax.adi (Coho) Clan family of Sitka, Alaska who will reintegrate it back into Tlingit religion.
Harold Jacobs, Tlingit Cultural Specialist, thanked the Penn Museum for its role in preserving the hats, now an essential chapter of each objects’ social biography. Jacobs and his colleagues untied each hats’ crown and carefully packed them for the return flight to Alaska.
Hosted by the Museum’s NAGPRA Committee along with five summer interns, Tlingit specialists repatriated two clan hats from the Penn Museum on July 17. The visit included a review of the Shotridge collections in storage, remarks by Tlingit Cultural specialist Harold Jacobs, sharing and discussion, and a luncheon.
Lucy Fowler Williams and Stacey Espenlaub
Through consultation with over twenty tribes, the Penn Museum found that one set of human remains from Pequaming, Baraga County located in Michigan were culturally affiliated with Chippewa groups whose aboriginal occupation included the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where Baraga County is located. The remains were removed from an unknown historic period grave in 1921 by Mr. Morgan Hebard, a summer resident of Pequaming. Hebard subsequently donated the human remains to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1921. In 1936, the human remains were loaned to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. In 1997, the remains were formally gifted to the University of Pennsylvania. Museum and collector documentation indicate that the human remains have been dated to the early Historic Period. Consultation, published information, and land cessions associated with Baraga County indicate that the geographic location from which the remains were removed is aboriginal to the Chippewa tribe or people. Today, there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American human remains and Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians of the Bad River Reservation, Wisconsin; Keweenaw Bay Indian Community; Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin; Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan; Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Minnesota (Leech Lake Band; Mille Lacs Band; White Earth Band); and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. On April 27, 2015, representatives for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan (KBIC) visited the Museum to repatriated the human remains.
Through consultation with Native American groups, human remains in the collections of the Penn Museum of twenty-one individuals removed between 1830 and 1895 from various locations in Florida and Oklahoma were identified as Seminole or Creek. Today, these peoples are represented by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas; Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town; Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana; Kialegee Tribal Town; Miccosukee Tribe of Indians; Poarch Band of Creeks; Seminole Tribe of Florida (previously listed as the Seminole Tribe of Florida (Dania, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood & Tampa Reservations)); The Muscogee (Creek) Nation; The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; and Thlopthlocco Tribal Town.
Associated archival documentation indicates that several of these individuals were killed during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). In 1930 the U.S. government passed the Indian Removal Act, which called for the relocation of Native Americans west of the Mississippi River. Seminole peoples of Florida had previously been settled on reservation lands north of Lake Okeechobee, and war broke out as most refused to l relocate t At least three of the individuals repatriated were removed from a battle that took place near Lake Okeechobee in 1837.
The majority of the ancestral human remains were part of a large collection of crania previously housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP) and referred to as the “Morton Collection.” In 1830, Dr. Samuel G. Morton began collecting human crania from around the world in order to investigate the origins of humans. In 1966, collections from that institution, including the Morton Collection, were transferred to the Penn Museum on permanent loan. In 1997, those collections were formally gifted to the Penn museum, where they are housed today.
One set of ancestral human remains was part of the collections of the Wistar Institute of Philadelphia, on loan to the Penn Museum. A 1995 agreement between the two institutions allows the Penn Museum to coordinate the NAGPRA process on behalf of the Wistar Institute.
On October 12, 2015, representatives from the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Tribal Historic Preservation Office travelled to Philadelphia to formally receive the human remains. The remains were reburied shortly after returning to Florida.
On October 29, 2015, Penn Museum transferred control of the human remains of a minimum of five individuals from the archaeological site of Tranquility in California (CA-FRE-48) to the Santa Rosa Rancheria of California. The human remains were excavated from the site between May 13 and June 6, 1944. by Malcolm Lloyd, Jr. and Dr. Linton Satterthwaite under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The human remains range in age from three or six months to later adulthood. Both males and females are represented. No known individuals were identified. No associated funerary objects are present. Radiocarbon dating reveals the site was occupied in at least two separate stages between 6,000 and 1,500 years ago. The Museum determined there was not sufficient evident to affiliate them with a specific present day tribe, the human remains were excavated on the aboriginal lands of the Yokuts, who are today represented by five federally recognized tribes, Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians of California; Santa Rosa Indian Community of the Santa Rosa Rancheria, California; Table Mountain Rancheria of California; Tule River Indian Tribe of the Tule River Reservation, California; and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians of the Tuolumne Rancheria of California. The human remains were reburied in a tribal cemetery on protected reservation lands.Notice of Inventory Completion
Through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina, the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, the human remains of six individuals were identified as Cherokee. The human remains were removed from unknown sites in Polk County, TN, Gilmer County, GA, and Cherokee County, NC by two different collectors, Dr. Joel Martin, US Army Medical Director at Fort Cass and Dr. James F.E. Hardy of Asheville, NC.
Archival documentation describes one of the individuals as "an Indian well known in the County…He was one of the greatest ball players in his tribe. While playing ball he slipped & fell & dislocated his spine & died immediately." Museum documentation and a physical assessment of the human remains identified trauma consistent with the injuries in this account and injuries one might receive while playing the Cherokee stickball game. Historical records and consultation information provide accounts of men being seriously injured and dying while playing the Cherokee stickball game.
All of the human remains were part of a larger collection of crania housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (ANSP) referred to as the "Morton Collection." In 1830, under the aegis of the ANSP, Dr. Samuel G. Morton began collecting human crania from a variety of sources around the world. The purpose of his study was to investigate the origins of human beings. In 1966, collections from the ANSP, including the Morton Collection, were transferred to the Penn Museum on permanent loan. In 1997 these collections were formally gifted to the Penn Museum where they are currently housed.
In September 2013, representatives from the Tribal Historic Preservation Office of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians travelled to the Penn Museum to repatriate the humans remains jointly with the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians.
Through Consultation with the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) and the Huna Heritage Foundation (HHF), acting on behalf of the Huna Totem Corporation (HTC), and representing the Tlingít T’akdeintaan Clan of Hoonah, Alaska, eight Tlingit objects were found to meet the statutory definitions of sacred objects and/or objects of cultural patrimony and were repatriated to the Tribe in September, 2011. The eight objects are one wooden box drum, one hide robe, two carved wooden masks, one carved wooden headdress, one head cover, one carved wooden rattle, and one carved wooden pipe. In 1924, Louis Shotridge, a Tlingit Curator employed by the University of Pennsylvania Museum, purchased the eight objects as part of a collection of 44 objects referred to as the "Snail House Collection" for $500.00 from a Tlingit individual, Archie White (Dimitri Tukk’axaaw), headmaster of the T’akdeintaan Clan of Hoonah, Alaska, for the collections of the University of Pennsylvania Museum. The cultural affiliation of the eight cultural items is the Tlingit T’akdeintaan clan of Huna, Alaska, as indicated through Museum records, and by consultation evidence presented by the Hoonah Indian Association (HIA) and the Huna Heritage Foundation (HHF), acting on behalf of the Huna Totem Corporation (HTC) representing the Tlingít T’akdeintaan Clan of Hoonah, Alaska. The University proposed a joint curatorial agreement for the remaining 36 objects from this collection and one other object. In 2017 the Tribe and Penn Museum signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and the 37 objects were resituated in Alaska at the Alaska State Museum, Juneau where they are available for use by the HIA and the T’akdeintaan at any time and in perpetuity.Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items
Through consultation with several Hawaiian organizations the human remains of one individual were identified as Hawaiian. The human remains were collected from the Sandwich Islands by an unknown person at an unknown date, probably around 1905. It was accessioned by the Wistar Institute of Philadelphia at an unknown date, and no source information is available. The human remains were transferred to the Penn Museum on a long-term-loan in 1956. The Wistar Institute retained ownership of these human remains, but authorized the Penn Museum to handle the NAGPRA process in collaboration with Wistar and on its behalf.
During consultation, Hui Mālama I Nā Kūpuna O Hawai’i Nei, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Hawai’i Island Burial Council, submitted a joint request asking the Penn Museum to consider loaning the human remains to a Hawaiian institution so that the iwi would be on Hawaiian soil pending a determination of its cultural affiliation and completion of the repatriation process. Out of respect for the Hawaiian people and in order to return this individual to the Hawaiian homeland expeditiously, the Penn Museum worked closely with the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Park on the island of Hawai’i to work out a temporary loan and housing agreement for the human remains. The cranium was transferred to the Hawaiian facility in May 2006 remaining there until the remains were repatriated in February 2008.
Through consultation with Mr. Francis Morris, Repatriation Coordinator, of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, the human remains of one individual were identified as culturally affiliated with the Pawnee in 1999. At an unknown date, human remains representing one individual were removed from an unknown site by person(s) unknown. The cranium was labeled "Pawnee." At an unknown date, these human remains were donated to the University of Pennsylvania Museum by person(s) unknown. The Pawnee Nation requested that the University Museum retain physical control of these remains until 2007 when the remains were returned to the tribe for reburial.
Through consultation with the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation and with the support of other affiliated groups, the human remains of one individual were repatriated to the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate. Sometime between 1830 and 1839, Dr. William C. Poole collected and sent the human remains of one individual to Dr. Samuel George Morton, President of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia as a contribution to his collection of human crania. No known individual was identified. From about 1830, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia provided storage space for much of Dr. Morton’s collection, including the human remains, until his death in 1852. In 1853, the collection was purchased from Dr. Morton’s estate and formally presented to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. In 1966, Dr. Morton’s collection, including the human remains, was loaned to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology until 1997, when the collection was formally gifted to the museum.
Collector’s records, museum documentation, and published sources (Morton 1839, 1840, and 1849; Meigs 1857) identify the human remains as those of a female "Dacota" Sioux warrior of Wisconsin and date them to the Historic period, probably to the early 19th century. Scholarly publications indicate that Wisconsin was an area settled by the Dakota groups during the early 19th century. The Dakota are the eastern group of the Sioux, and comprised of the Sisseton, the Wahpeton, and the Santee, who in turn are composed of the Wahpekute and Mdewakanton. Dakota descendants are members of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe of South Dakota; Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota; Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota; Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska; Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation, South Dakota; Spirit Lake Tribe, North Dakota; and Upper Sioux Community, Minnesota.
In August 2006, a delegation from the Sissteon-Wahpeton Oyate travelled to the Penn Museum to repatriate the human remains, and members of Kitt-Fox Society performed a ceremony in the Warden Garden prior to the groups departure that day.
In 2000, the Sac & Fox Tribe submitted a repatriation claim for one wooden bowl as a "Sacred Object." The bowl was purchased in 1910 by Mark Raymond Harrington from a Fox Chief, named Pushetonequa (Pu ci ta ni kwe), in Iowa during an ethnological expedition funded by George Gustav Heye, a member of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Board of Overseers. The bowl was received by the Museum as part of an exchange with Mr. Heye and catalogued into the permanent collection in 1930. Based on consultation and available literature, wooden bowls of this type are needed by traditional Meskwaki (Fox) religious leaders in order to pray to and communicate with their gods. Bowls of this type were and still are used in many complex and traditional religious practices and ceremonies, such as the Sacred Bundle Ceremony, the Ceremonial Feast to Honor the Departed, the Ceremonial Naming Feast, the Return of the Name Feast, and Ceremonial Adoptions. The University concluded that it has "Right of Possession" of the object. However, in recognition of the significance of the sacred object to the tribe’s contemporary religious practices and its historical significance and consistent with the intent of NAGPRA, the University voluntarily returned the bowl to the Sac & Fox Tribe in 2005.
The remains of twelve individuals were found through consultation and museum documentation to be culturally affiliated with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma and the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. The human remains were collected from sites in the Great Lakes regions between 1800 and 1853 by several collectors. The remains were donated to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the human remains ultimately became part of what has often been referred to as the "Morton Collection." The collection was loaned to the Penn Museum in 1966 and then, to facilitate the implementation of NAGPRA, was legally transferred to the Penn Museum on September 15, 1997. With the support of the Peoria Tribe, representatives from the Miami Tribe travelled to the Penn Museum in November 2003 to repatriate the twelve human remains for reburial.
Through consultation with the NAGPRA Coordinator, Kotzebue IRA, the human remains of one individual were determined to be culturally affiliated with the Native Village of Kotzebue and subsequently repatriated in December of 2002. In 1895, this individual was removed from an unknown location on the Choris Peninsula in Kotzebue Sound, AK by Mr. Benjamin Sharp. Mr. Sharp collected these human remains for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the human remains ultimately became part of what has often been referred to as the "Morton Collection." The collection was loaned to the Penn Museum in 1966 and then, to facilitate the implementation of NAGPRA, was legally transferred to the Penn Museum on September 15, 1997.
Through consultation with the NAGPRA Official of the Comanche Tribe, the human remains of one individual were determined to be culturally affiliated with this group and subsequently repatriated in November of 2002. At an unknown date prior to 1953, human remains of a Comanche chief were removed from an indeterminate location by A.E. Carothers. Mr. Carothers collected these human remains for the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the human remains ultimately became part of what is commonly referred to as the "Morton Collection." The collection was loaned to the Penn Museum in 1966, and was legally transferred to the Penn Museum in 1997 to facilitate the implementation of NAGPRA.
In 2000, the White Mountain Apache Tribe submitted a repatriation claim to the Museum for one Gaan (Mountain Spirit) headdress as a "sacred object" and an "object of cultural patrimony." The headdress was purchased in 1931 by the Denver Art Museum from Mr. O.L.N. Foster. No documentation is available surrounding its acquisition. In 1959, the Penn Museum received it in an exchange with the Denver Art Museum. According to the tribe’s NAGPRA representative, the headdress is "a unique sacred object hand crafted to support the transformation of an individual Apache (Ndee) girl into womanhood" and "once such a headdress has been used by the Gaan spirits it is put away-retired forever as a means for the perpetuation of the healing and harmonizing derived from the ceremony." Further, it was explained that "the headdress should never have been removed from its resting place, and its repatriation will contribute to the reestablishment of harmony, health, and good will." The University of Pennsylvania determined that the headdress is an object of central importance to the White Mountain Apache Tribe and that it qualified as an "object of cultural patrimony." The headdress was repatriated to the tribe on January 10, 2002.
In 2002, the Penn Museum repatriated nineteen wooden masks to the Central Alaskan village of Grayling, through its Tribal Corporation, Denakkanaaga, Inc.
The masks were acquired during a Museum collecting expedition in 1935. They were recovered from a "refuse heap" behind a collapsed ceremonial house at Holikachaket, an ancestral village of Grayling. According to the collector, the masks were once used in the Mask Dance or the Feast of the Mask. The purpose of this ceremony was to insure a continued supply of fish and game by thanking the spirits of the animals.
After careful analysis, the University of Pennsylvania found that the masks are objects of central importance to the Native Village of Grayling and could not have been alienated by any one individual. Penn Museum staff worked closely with representatives of the Organized Village of Grayling who had received a NPS NAGPRA Repatriation Grant. The masks were repatriated on October 26, 2002.
In July of 2000 the Museum repatriated one human remain to the Native Village of Unalakleet, Alaska. The remains were recovered in 1969 from an archaeological excavation east of Kouwegok Slough near Unalakleet conducted by the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout the process of repatriation the Museum consulted with the Native Villages of Unalakleet, Shaktoolik and St. Michael, the Stebbins Community Association, and the Bering Straits Native Foundation.
Through consultation with representatives of the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon and the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, human remains representing one individual were determined to be culturally affiliated with the Modoc Tribe. These remains were recovered from Ft. Klamath, Oregon at an unknown date by an unknown collector. In 1915, control of these remains was transferred from the University of Pennsylvania Museum to the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia. In 1961, control of the remains was transferred back to the University of Pennsylvania Museum. A relationship of shared group identity can be reasonably traced between these human remains and the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon and the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma. After consultation, these remains were repatriated to the Klamath Indian Tribe of Oregon.
Through consultation with the NAGPRA Coordinator for the Sac and Fox Nation and other affiliated groups, the human remains of one individual were repatriated to the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. Accession documentation identified this individual as a "Native American shot in the Black Hawk War, 1905." These remains were removed from an unknown location at an unknown date by person(s) unknown. Prior to 1915, these human remains were received by the University of Pennsylvania Museum, and were transferred to the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, in that same year. The remains were transferred back to the University of Pennsylvania Museum in 1961. While many Sac and Fox individuals were killed during the Black Hawk War, groups of Potawtomi, Winnebago, and Kickapoo are known to have allied themselves with the Sac and Fox during that conflict. These human remains were determined to be culturally affiliated with all of these groups. The Museum consultated with representatives of the Sac and Fox Nation, Oklahoma; the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa; the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska; the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska; the Kickapoo Tribe of Indians of the Kickapoo Reservation in Kansas, and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma. In addition, the Forest County Potawatami Community of Wisconsin Potawatomi Indians, Wisconsin; Huron Potawatomi, Inc., Michigan; the Pokagan Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan; the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Indians, Kansas; the Hannahville Indian Community of Wisconsin Potawatomie Indians of Michigan; the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas; and the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma were invited to consult, but did not participate. The remains were repatriated to the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma in February of 2000.
On October 24, 2000 the Museum repatriated two human remains to the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe of Sequim, Washington, the Port Gamble Indian Community of the Port Gamble Reservation, and the Lower Elwha Tribal Community of the lower Elwha Reservation. At an unknown date, human remains representing one individual were removed from Puget Sound, WA by Dr. David U. Egbert. In 1870 these human remains were donated to the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia. Based on the original accession information from the Wistar Institute, this individual was determined to be S'Klallam. The northwestern region of Puget Sound, which extends to the Dungeness River mouth, incorporates the traditional territory of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Reservation. In 1856, human remains representing a second individual were removed from Puget Sound, WA by an unknown individual and donated to the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. In 1997, the control of these human remains was transferred to the University of Pennsylvania Museum. These remains were claimed by the tribes in May of 1998, and approved for repatriation by the Museum in July of 1998. In June of 2000 the tribes received a NAGPRA grant through the National Park Service that enabled a delegation of representatives to travel to Philadelphia to complete the repatriation and to review other collections of interest in the Museum. Upon receiving the remains, the tribal representatives conducted a brief ceremony on the grounds of the Museum. Throughout the repatriation process the Museum worked primarily with the S’Klallam Cultural Coordinator and representative of the Port Gamble and Lower Elwha communities.
On October 25, 1999 the Museum repatriated two human remains to the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska and the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. During the 1850s these remains were removed from an unknown site by P. Gregg. In 1893, these human remains were acquired by the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA. In 1966, they were placed on loan to the University of Pennsylvania Museum and were officially transferred into the Museum in 1997. The Museum worked closely with David Lee Smith, Cultural Preservation Officer and historian of the Nebraska group to facilitate the return. Mr. Smith, who represents the Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin on repatriation matters, traveled to the Museum for a collections consultation in August of 1998.
Through consultation with the Oneida Nation of New York and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, the human remains of two individuals were determined to be culturally affiliated with both groups. In 1944, human remains representing two individuals were removed from the Ellenwood site, Munnsville, NY by Mr. (Elton?) Lake. In 1944, these human remains were donated to the University of Pennsylvania Museum by George Roberts of Sharon Hill, PA. No known individuals were identified. The four associated funerary objects included three iron fragments and mirror glass. Based on accession information and associated funerary objects, these individuals have been determined to be Native American from the early historic period. Based on historic documents, the Ellenwood site has been identified as an Oneida village and cemetery occupied during the 17th century. Representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York presented geographical and historical evidence during consultation indicating cultural affiliation with the Ellenwood site. A relationship of shared group identity can be reasonably traced between these Native American human remains and associated funerary objects and the Oneida Indian Nation of New York and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. In agreement with the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin these human remains were repatriated by the Oneida Nation of New York.
The Museum has repatriated three human remains to the Cayuga Nation of Versailles, New York. These consultations were conducted with the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma and the Cayuga Nation of New York. The first transfer of two individuals occurred in April of 1998. Archival information from the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia indicated that one set of these remains was collected by Dr. Z. Pitcher during the 19th century in New York State. This individual has been identified as "Wan-Yun-ta, Chief of the Cayuga Tribe" of New York State. The second individual was excavated from a burial of a "young Cayuga Iroquois Chief" near Union Springs, Cayuga County, New York in 1894 by William W. Adams. The second repatriation was completed on April 27, 2000. In 1894, human remains representing one individual were excavated from a burial near Union Springs, Cayuga County, NY by William W. Adams, who donated these human remains to the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA. In 1997, collections from the Academy of Natural Sciences (including these human remains) were transferred to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to facilitate the implementation of NAGPRA. In both instances, Mr. Clint Halftown, Cayuga Repatriation Officer, traveled to the Museum to receive the remains.
The Museum’s largest repatriation of approximately 120 human remains has been to the Chugach Alaska Corporation. These remains were excavated by the Penn Museum in the regions of Prince William Sound and Kachemak Bay. Approximately eighty-five human remains were repatriated in 1994. Please refer to the Notice of Inventory Completion for the detailed collections histories related to this repatriation. An additional thirty-five human remains were repatriated in 2000. Please refer to the Notices of Inventory Completion 1999 and 2000, and the Notice of Intent to Repatriate 1999 for the detailed collections histories related to this repatriation. In both cases, the Museum worked closely with Mr. John F.C. Johnson, Member and Board of Directors of the Chugach Alaska Corporation, to facilitate the repatriations. Mr. Johnson traveled twice to Philadelphia. During his visit in 2000 he spoke publicly on a Penn radio broadcast about the importance of the return of human remains for Alaska’s Native peoples.
Please note: the 1994 repatriation notice is not available as it was posted prior to 1994 before the federal register began archiving notices.
The University Museum has made four separate repatriation transfers totaling seventy-three human remains to Hui Mālama I Nā Kūpuna O Hawai’i Nei. All of the remains were part of the Samuel G. Morton Collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
The first repatriation included an infant mummy collected in 1893 from a cave in Hanapeepee Valley, Kauai. The repatriation was completed by the Penn Museum on behalf of the Academy of Natural Sciences in August of 1991.
An additional sixty-two human remains were transferred on November 15, 1996. Please refer to the Notice of Inventory Completion for the detailed collection histories related to this repatriation. These remains were repatriated by the Penn Museum on behalf of the Academy of Natural Sciences.
An additional eight remains were repatriated on October 1, 1997. Please refer to the Notice of Inventory Completion for the detailed collection histories related to this repatriation. These remains were repatriated by the Penn Museum on behalf of the Academy of Natural Sciences.
Two human remains were transferred on September 29, 1999. In 1893, human remains representing two individuals were removed from "a lava cave on the island of Hawai'i" by Dr. J.M. Whitney. At an unknown date, Dr. C.N. Pierce donated these remains to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. One remain was officially transferred to the Penn Museum in 1998. The second human remain was officially transferred to the Penn Museum in 1999.
In each case, Hawaiian representatives traveled to Philadelphia to conduct repatriation ceremonies and to accompany the human remains to Hawaii.
Please note: the 1991 repatriation notice is not available as it was posted prior to 1994 before the federal register began archiving notices.
In 1990 the University of Pennsylvania Museum repatriated one war god (Ahuyu:da) and 14 associated objects to the community of Zuni Pueblo, New Mexico. Museum Curator Stuart Culin, had collected the war god on the Wanamaker Expedition of 1902 from collector R.C. H. Brock who had removed it from a shrine on Zuni’s Thunder Mountain. The staff of the Museum unanimously agreed that the war god should be returned to the Zuni people. On November 12, 1990, after it was deaccessioned by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, the war god was transferred in a formal ceremony at the Museum to Zuni representatives Barton Martza, Head Councilman, Perry Tsadiasi, Bow Priest, and T.J. Ferguson of the Institute of the North American West. At a Museum seminar that afternoon, the Zuni representatives talked about their repatriation efforts and the importance of the Ahayu:da in maintaining balance and harmony in their community and the world.
There is a relationship of shared group idenity which can reasonably be traced historically or prehistorically between a present day Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization and an identifiable earlier group.
An object having ongoing historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an individual Native American, and which, therefore, cannot be alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by an individual regardless of whether or not the individual is a member of the Indian tribe or Native American organization and such object shall have been considered inalienable by such Native American group at the time the object was separated from such group.
Objects that, as part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, where the remains are not in the possession or control of a Federal agency or museum and the objects can be identified by a preponderance of the evidence as related to specific individuals or families or to known human remains or, by a preponderance of the evidence, as having been removed from a specific burial site of an individual culturally affiliated with a particular Indian tribe.
Specific ceremonial objects which are needed by traditional Native American religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American religions by their present day adherents.
Objects that, as part of the death rite or ceremony of a culture, are reasonably believed to have been placed with individual human remains either at the time of death or later, and both the human remains and associated funerary objects are presently in the possession or control of a Federal agency or museum, except that other items exclusively made for burial purposes or to contain human remains shall be considered associated funerary objects.
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