Video: Stopping Grave Robbers, Protecting Sacred Remains & NAGPRA

September 12, 2013

The Association of American Indian Affairs was integral in enacting the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. In this video, the association walks watchers through the process of why the act was so important and how it came to be.

NAGPRA became law on November 16, 1990. The video also discusses changes since NAGPRA was first signed.

“In the 20 years since the law’s passage museums and federal agencies have increasingly begun to work with tribes in all areas of their domain that should or could involve tribes,” says Jack Trope, the executive director of the association, who narrates the video. “Standard operating procedure is slowly changing to include tribes as a matter of course. This was one of the goals of NAGPRA.”

“I had a lot of assumptions about what I thought I knew—as an archaeologist and as a scientist, as a woman—it has humbled me,” says Bridget M. Ambler, NAGPRA liaison for the Colorado Historical Society. “It’s really helped me to gain empathy for understanding belief systems that are not my own and that’s what’s really important.”