SAA Statement on Proposed NAGPRA Amendment

S. 2843, the Native American Technical Corrections Act, sponsored by Senator Campbell (R-CO), was reported out of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee to the full Senate last week. Section 14 of the bill would alter the definition of "Native American" in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act in order to address a recent court ruling that the remains known as Kennewick Man do not meet the legal definition of Native American in NAGPRA.

The way in which this amendment to NAGPRA was introduced has raised concerns for SAA. The Society participated in the development and passage of the law and has been consulted as a stakeholder in NAGPRA issues since that time. SAA and many other stakeholders were not consulted or even informed that the amendment was going to be proposed; no hearings or discussion of this significant change in the law will be held prior to Senate consideration of the bill.

After some the discussion of the issues involved, SAA's Board of Directors has agreed on the following position:

October 5, 2004