Home News UC Riverside slow to return Native American artifacts to tribes, audit finds

UC Riverside slow to return Native American artifacts to tribes, audit finds


4 faculties within the College of California system, together with UC Riverside, have repeatedly did not return sacred Native American artifacts to tribes in a well timed method, based on a brand new state audit.

UC system campuses in Riverside, Berkeley, Santa Barbara and San Diego have traditionally struggled to stock and repatriate huge Native American collections, based on the 31-page report launched this month detailing an audit that started final yr.

“Some campuses have but to fully evaluate all of the stays and cultural gadgets of their management,” stated the audit, including it can seemingly take a decade to provide the gadgets again to the tribes.

Solely UC Davis and UCLA have repatriated nearly all of their Native American collections.

The audit famous that UC Riverside has returned lower than 1% of its Native American artifacts and can seemingly want $165,000 yearly to finish the duty.

The 1990 federal Native American Graves Safety and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and California Meeting Invoice 2836, enacted in 2018, established necessities for the return of human stays and cultural gadgets from governmental and museum collections.

‘Pathetic and reprehensible’

Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Indians in Riverside County, stated he’s incensed by the audit’s findings with regard to UC Riverside.

“The college has a pathetic and reprehensible historical past of breaking federal NAGPRA for 42 years and now AB 2836 of 2018,” Macarro stated in an electronic mail. “That the auditor reached comparable conclusions in 2020 solely confirms this actuality. It’s apparent that we might want to carry further measures to compel compliance.”

Officers with the UC system stated Monday it welcomes the auditors’ suggestions for enhancements.

“UC is dedicated to implementing all suggestions and believes they are going to assist additional our efforts to meet our moral obligation to return ancestral stays and cultural gadgets to the tribes in a immediate and respectful method,” Stett Holbrook, a spokesperson for the system, stated in a press release.

New coverage in 2021

The UC system issued a brand new Native American cultural affiliation and repatriation coverage in December 2021 to “make actual and significant progress,” Holbrook added.

A federally acknowledged tribe might request the return of its ancestors’ stays and cultural gadgets by submitting a repatriation declare to the federal government.

“As soon as entities return stays, some tribes might select to rebury them as a result of these tribes consider that the spirits of their ancestors can’t relaxation till they’re correctly buried,” the audit states.

The Riverside and San Diego campuses just lately found massive collections of artifacts that, in some situations, have been saved inappropriately.

“The Workplace of the President (of the UC system) has not ensured consistency in how campuses reply to newly found collections,” the audit stated. “Because of this, tribes might have completely different experiences when working with campuses to reclaim their ancestors, creating an pointless stage of complexity and potential frustration.”

Reparation coordinators

The audit additionally famous the UC system has not required campuses to make use of full-time repatriation coordinators.

UC Riverside’s former repatriation coordinator, who was not recognized, had expertise constructing and sustaining constructive relationships with tribes as a tribal council member, however didn’t meet different necessities for the place, auditors decided.

“Particularly, the previous repatriation coordinator acknowledged that he has not participated in your complete repatriation course of and has solely a common understanding” of it, the audit stated.

Some steps have been taken to supply repatriation coordinators with data and coaching to deal with their lack of expertise.

The UC system gives coaching and conducts bimonthly conferences with repatriation coordinators to supply recommendation and permit campuses to study from each other, stated the audit.


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