California Native American Repatriation Bill Passes With Overwhelming Support

Introduced by Assemblyman Darrel Steinberg, AB978 Expedites The

Return of Remains and Artifacts from State-Funded Institutions



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Barona

    BARONA INDIAN RESERVATION, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A bill
 recently introduced in the California Assembly, AB978, the California Native
 American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 2001, passed the Business
 and Processions Committee unanimously with overwhelming support and consent of
 the full committee.  The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Darrel Steinberg
 (D - Sacramento).  Barona Tribal Councilmember Steven Banegas advised
 Steinberg and contributed significant input on AB 978, which if passed will
 expedite the repatriation of California Indian remains and artifacts.
     "We applaud Assemblyman Steinberg and the Business and Professions
 Committee under the leadership of Committee Chairman, Lou Correa for taking
 this major step to assist California's Native People in protecting and
 preserving our culture," said Banegas, an elected Tribal Council member for
 the Barona Band of Mission Indians.  "Currently there are no state laws
 governing Native American repatriation.  Many people are unaware that Native
 American gravesites were being raided as late as the 1970s.  This will be
 another tool we can use to bring our ancestors back to the land where their
 lives began."
     Banegas, who is also the spokesman of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation
 Committee (KCRC), has successfully repatriated items belonging to Barona from
 as far away as the American Museum of Natural History in New York City under
 the federal Native American Graves Protection Act (NAGPRA).
     Steinberg convened the first-ever California Assembly hearing on the
 repatriation of Native American remains last summer (2000).  The hearing,
 which was held on the Barona Indian Reservation outside of San Diego, was also
 the first-ever State Assembly hearing to be held on an Indian Reservation.
     "Many of California's education institutions, museums and state agencies
 hold a large collection of Native American remains and artifacts," said
 Steinberg.  "Through AB 978, we are seeking to provide a seamless and
 consistent state policy to ensure that Native American remains and artifacts
 are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."
     Under NAGPRA, federal agencies and recipients of federal funds, such as
 museums and universities are required to document Native American remains and
 cultural items within their collections.  The law also requires that these
 agencies notify Native Americans that may be affiliated with the items, and
 return the items to their descendants.
     "Since NAGPRA's passage in 1990, progress towards full compliance with the
 law has been slow and difficult," said Banegas.  "Repatriation is a complex
 issue.  Institutions often cite lack of resources as the reason they are
 unable to comply in a timely manner, and we believe that having a state law
 will help to cut through some of the red tape and speed up the process."
 AB 978 streamlines and adds an accountability step to the repatriation
 process.  Specifically, this bill will:
     -- Apply California's repatriation policy consistently with NAGPRA
        provisions.
     -- Encourage voluntary disclosure and return of human skeletal remains and
        funerary objects by an agency, museum, or private individual.
     -- Provide a mechanism and timeline for which state agencies and
        institutions must inventory and account for Native American human
        skeletal remains and funerary objects to Tribal groups, lineal
        descendants, or other persons establishing cultural affiliation with
        those human skeletal remains or funerary objects.
     -- Create the Repatriation Oversight Commission to aid in the repatriation
        of human skeletal remains and funerary objects in accordance with the
        law.  The Commission would also serve to mediate disputes between
        California tribes and museums and agencies, as well as disputes arising
        between Tribes and those entities relating to the disposition of human
        skeletal remains and funerary objects.
 
     About the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC)
     The Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee is a not-for-profit
 confederation formed by the 12 Tribes of the Kumeyaay Nation to deal with
 repatriation of human remains, artifacts and objects of cultural patrimony.
 The committee's mission is to preserve and protect ancestral remains, sacred
 lands and sacred objects under NAGPRA for today and future generations.  By
 uniting to facilitate the application of NAGPRA as a single organization, the
 KCRC has been able to repatriate the remains of over 80 individuals of
 Kumeyaay descent and over 2,000 items of cultural patrimony, as well as to
 educate the public about the need for repatriation.  The committee also
 supports other Tribes in organizing at the national and state levels to
 facilitate the repatriation process.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X06758426
 
 

SOURCE Barona
    BARONA INDIAN RESERVATION, Calif., April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A bill
 recently introduced in the California Assembly, AB978, the California Native
 American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 2001, passed the Business
 and Processions Committee unanimously with overwhelming support and consent of
 the full committee.  The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Darrel Steinberg
 (D - Sacramento).  Barona Tribal Councilmember Steven Banegas advised
 Steinberg and contributed significant input on AB 978, which if passed will
 expedite the repatriation of California Indian remains and artifacts.
     "We applaud Assemblyman Steinberg and the Business and Professions
 Committee under the leadership of Committee Chairman, Lou Correa for taking
 this major step to assist California's Native People in protecting and
 preserving our culture," said Banegas, an elected Tribal Council member for
 the Barona Band of Mission Indians.  "Currently there are no state laws
 governing Native American repatriation.  Many people are unaware that Native
 American gravesites were being raided as late as the 1970s.  This will be
 another tool we can use to bring our ancestors back to the land where their
 lives began."
     Banegas, who is also the spokesman of the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation
 Committee (KCRC), has successfully repatriated items belonging to Barona from
 as far away as the American Museum of Natural History in New York City under
 the federal Native American Graves Protection Act (NAGPRA).
     Steinberg convened the first-ever California Assembly hearing on the
 repatriation of Native American remains last summer (2000).  The hearing,
 which was held on the Barona Indian Reservation outside of San Diego, was also
 the first-ever State Assembly hearing to be held on an Indian Reservation.
     "Many of California's education institutions, museums and state agencies
 hold a large collection of Native American remains and artifacts," said
 Steinberg.  "Through AB 978, we are seeking to provide a seamless and
 consistent state policy to ensure that Native American remains and artifacts
 are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."
     Under NAGPRA, federal agencies and recipients of federal funds, such as
 museums and universities are required to document Native American remains and
 cultural items within their collections.  The law also requires that these
 agencies notify Native Americans that may be affiliated with the items, and
 return the items to their descendants.
     "Since NAGPRA's passage in 1990, progress towards full compliance with the
 law has been slow and difficult," said Banegas.  "Repatriation is a complex
 issue.  Institutions often cite lack of resources as the reason they are
 unable to comply in a timely manner, and we believe that having a state law
 will help to cut through some of the red tape and speed up the process."
 AB 978 streamlines and adds an accountability step to the repatriation
 process.  Specifically, this bill will:
     -- Apply California's repatriation policy consistently with NAGPRA
        provisions.
     -- Encourage voluntary disclosure and return of human skeletal remains and
        funerary objects by an agency, museum, or private individual.
     -- Provide a mechanism and timeline for which state agencies and
        institutions must inventory and account for Native American human
        skeletal remains and funerary objects to Tribal groups, lineal
        descendants, or other persons establishing cultural affiliation with
        those human skeletal remains or funerary objects.
     -- Create the Repatriation Oversight Commission to aid in the repatriation
        of human skeletal remains and funerary objects in accordance with the
        law.  The Commission would also serve to mediate disputes between
        California tribes and museums and agencies, as well as disputes arising
        between Tribes and those entities relating to the disposition of human
        skeletal remains and funerary objects.
 
     About the Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee (KCRC)
     The Kumeyaay Cultural Repatriation Committee is a not-for-profit
 confederation formed by the 12 Tribes of the Kumeyaay Nation to deal with
 repatriation of human remains, artifacts and objects of cultural patrimony.
 The committee's mission is to preserve and protect ancestral remains, sacred
 lands and sacred objects under NAGPRA for today and future generations.  By
 uniting to facilitate the application of NAGPRA as a single organization, the
 KCRC has been able to repatriate the remains of over 80 individuals of
 Kumeyaay descent and over 2,000 items of cultural patrimony, as well as to
 educate the public about the need for repatriation.  The committee also
 supports other Tribes in organizing at the national and state levels to
 facilitate the repatriation process.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X06758426
 
 SOURCE  Barona