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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Anthropology

DUMA Native American collections

Museum of Anthropology

NAGPRA Community of Practice

The University of Denver is leading an initiative to develop a network of practitioners to support implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in museums. This community of practice will bring together individuals with all levels of NAGPRA expertise to connect, collaborate, and increase capacity.

NAGPRA is a Federal law passed in 1990 that provides a process for lineal descendants, Native American Tribes, and Native American Hawaiian Organizations  to request the return of human remains and certain cultural items from museums and federal agencies. Learn more

Nearly thirty years after the passage of NAGPRA, there is still misunderstanding and confusion within some parts of the museum community regarding its requirements and procedures. However, there are many experts on NAGPRA across the US eager to assist their colleagues.


We are conducting a nation-wide survey of museum professionals and NAGPRA representatives of tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and federal and state agencies. Our goal is to develop a picture of NAGPRA implementation 30 years in and to identify opportunities for the future.

Please take a moment to lend your voice to the conversation! This survey is anonymous and will take about 10 minutes. We ask that you answer the questions as completely and honestly as possible. Your feedback will be used to inform the scope and direction of this community of practice.

We want to talk to as many people as possible, so please share the survey with colleagues and organizations engaged in this work.

Take the survey here.

Get involved

Do you work with a museum, Native American tribe, Native Hawaiian Organization, or federal or state agency? We need your input as we pilot this initiative. Add your email and receive project updates and info on how to connect and collaborate.




We will distribute a survey in February 2019 to collect information on the current state of NAGPRA implementation in museums and identify needs for the future. We need responses from a representative sample of the entire U.S. museum field as well our partners in NAGPRA implementation—representatives of Tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and federal and state agencies. Survey responses will ensure a broad range of concerns are captured and included for discussion as we plan and pilot this community of practice. Take the survey here .


A summit will be held in March 2019. The summit will bring together individuals with NAGPRA expertise in museums to identify goals and action plans for creating and sustaining the community of practice.

Cultivating the Community

In year two, the network will begin to take shape. We will build a platform for a virtual community of practice to support discussions, be a clearinghouse of NAGPRA resources specifically for museums, and connect individuals for peer-to-peer mentoring. We will present NAGPRA sessions and workshops at national, regional, and local museum conferences. We will also create and distribute quick reference NAGPRA fact sheets.


A conference recognizing the 30th anniversary of NAGPRA will be held November 16th and 17th, 2020, on the University of Denver campus. The conference will be open to the public and will be an opportunity for the entire NAGPRA community to come together. Presenters and participants will focus on looking to the future, and considering how we can better work together to tackle the large amount of NAGPRA work left to be done. If you are interested in joining the conference steering committee, or have someone to recommend, contact [email protected].

Project Information

Project Staff
Anne Amati
Project Director and DUMA NAGPRA Coordinator/Registrar
(p) 303-871-2687 | [email protected]

Lydia Degn-Sutton
Research Assistant

This project is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services MG-70-18-0050-18. Please contact Principal Investigator Anne Amati, MA, if you have any questions or would like additional information at [email protected].