Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Press release #1: NAGPRA Coalition

Corbin Collins


Five-tribe NAGPRA Coalition Rejects Discrimination in DecisionProcess, UCB’s Complete Deference to Research Scientists

BERKELEY, Calif., July 25, 2007 – Representatives from five Native American tribes – sovereign governments under Federal law – today announced the formation of the Native American NAGPRA Coalition (NANC) to protest the University of California at Berkeley’s elimination of the Phoebe Hearst Museum’s autonomous NAGPRA unit. This unit is the highly trained, cohesive team that fairly and impartially administered the Federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) and a soon-to-be-implemented state law (AB 978) affecting the second largest collection of Native American ancestral remains and sacred objects in the Nation. NANC strenuously rejects the University’s decision-making process, which deliberately and completely excluded Native Americans. The Coalition requests that Chancellor Robert Birgeneau immediately stop the Museum reorganization, reopen the review process, and meet with the Coalition to determine how to proceed. The Coalition also encourages other tribes to join the protest.

The University accepted the recommendations of a review “committee” that consisted of two non-native research archeologists who have vested professional interests in keeping museum collections intact. The committee did not include tribal representatives, and the University did not solicit the direct input of the autonomous NAGPRA unit, which includes three Native Americans. Under the Museum reorganization, University research scientists who have frustrated NAGPRA compliance in the past will gain complete control over NAGPRA operations. Contrary to University claims, genuine NAGPRA services will be significantly cut. Several tribal governments have already adopted formal resolutions denouncing the University’s decision and demanding that it be reversed.

The five tribal representatives on the Coalition are:

Reno Franklin, of the Kashia Pomo Tribe;
Lalo Franco, of the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe;
Bennae Calac, of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians;
Ted Howard, of Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Duck Valley and the Great Basin NAGPRA Coalition; and Reg Elgin, of the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians.

NANC includes the following adjunct members:
Mark LeBeau, of Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites;
Otis Parish, Kashia Pomo Elder;
Dr. Larri Fredericks, former Interim NAGPRA Coordinator and Alaska Athabascan;
Dr. Mark Hall, archeologist;
andJessica LePak, UC graduate student and Oneida/Mohican.

NANC emphasizes that the meeting it requests be substantial rather than merely informational. “We are not requesting an ‘explanation’ of what the University regards as an established fact,” said Coalition and tribal member Larri Fredericks. “We expect to play an equitable role in determining the facts. The University must show tribes the respect due sovereign governments, reopen the review process and start over.”

“The University demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the Native American voice,” said Coalition and tribal member Mark LeBeau. “Not a single Native American was represented on the review committee or among the administrators who commissioned the review and accepted its recommendations. Inevitably, the recommendations reflected the discrimination in the review process. Not one Native American will have significant authority in NAGPRA operations at the Phoebe Hearst. I hope tribal councils and anyone who believes in fair representation for all people will join our protest.”

Supporters can add their voices by calling NANC volunteers at 510-652-1567 and by contacting Chancellor Birgeneau at 510-642-7464, and; Governor Schwarzenegger at; UC President Dynes at; and the Board of Regents at 510-987-9220 and

For additional information, visit This press release is posted at, along with tribal resolutions and tools of protest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tlingit and Haida Tribal Resolution

Executive Council of the Central Council
Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska Resolution
EC/ 07-40

Title: NAGPRA Restoration of Funding for University of California Request

WHEREAS, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) is a federally recognized tribe of more than 26,000 tribal citizens; and

WHEREAS, the Native American Graves Protection Act (hereafter referred to as NAGPRA) PUBLIC LAW 101-601- NOV. 16, 1990 gives the various federally recognized Native American tribes the right to reclaim items known as Objects of Cultural Patrimony, Associated Funerary Objects, Unassociated Funerary Objects, Human Remains, and Sacred Objects; and

WHEREAS, This law mandated that all federally recognized Native American tribes be given an inventory of items in these categories to said tribal organizations; and

WHEREAS, this has opened a door of communication between numerous museum and Native American Tribes in consultation, repatriations, and ongoing dialogue; and

WHEREAS, the University of California Berkeley ((UCB) Phoebe Hearst Museum has successfully repatriated an Object of Cultural Patrimony back to the Tlingit people; and

WHEREAS, the collection of this museum at over 800 objects only Tlingit items, not counting other Native American Tribes that objects in this museum, leaves many more questions and claims to be submitted on these remaining items should they be deemed as such by the tribe(s); and

WHEREAS, the University of California Berkeley has recently decided to end the NAGPRA program at the museum at the behest of archaeologist and ignoring the importance of the anthropologists and the work already accomplished; and

WHEREAS, the University of California Berkeley is known to be in the forefront of the fight for human rights and causes and the NAGPRA law is one such area for human rights and dignity;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska objects to the disbanding of any NAGPRA committee or work at the Phoebe Hearst Museum; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska will submit as it's next NAGPRA Consultation Visit, a visit to the Phoebe Hearst Museum to review its collection; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska asks that the powers that be at the University of California Berkeley, take whatever steps necessary to restore funding for NAGPRA staff and reviews that museum and keep it an ongoing program for the benefit of all people.

ADOPTED this day of 2007, by the Executive Council of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska by a vote of 6_ yeas, __nays, ___abstentions and ___absence(s).

CERTIFY President William E. Martin
ATTEST Tribal Secretary Dana Leask Ruaro

Susanville Indian Rancheria Resolution

Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau
Office of the Chancellor
200 California Hall #1500
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-1500


Dear Chancellor Birgeneau:

Susanville Indian Rancheria (SIR) is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in Northeastern California. The tribe is comprised of four distinct Tribes: Maidu, Paiute, Pit River, and Washoe. The Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology (PAHMA) houses thousands of human remains that are related to us. SIR has created a NAGPRA Coalition that consists of Tribes from Northeastern California and the Great Basin Members from the Northeastern California NAGPRA Tribal Coalition (NECATNC) have visited the PAHMA on several occasions, as we are diligently working to repatriate the ancestors. Those Tribes that have officially signed on with the NECATNC are:

Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California
Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
Redding Rancheria
Maidu Cultural Development Group
Lovelock Paiute Tribe
Pit River Nation
Winnemucca Indian Colony
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe
Fort Bidwell Indian Community
Alturas Rancheria
Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe
Greenville Rancheria
Susanville Indian Rancheria

On behalf of all members of the NECATNC we vigorously urge you to reverse the decision made to disband the NAGPA unit. It is our understanding that this decision was made based on a report written by two archaeologists who represent research interests that conflict with Tribal claims on the Museum's collection of ancestral remains. The review was conducted with only a few days notice, without Tribal notification and consultation! Despite insistence from Larri Fredericks, Ph.D., Interim NAGPRA Coordinator, that Native Americans be represented, her concerns were bypassed!

We feel that we have built a strong relationship with the PAHMA and the NAGPRA unit. The NAGPRA team consists of highly qualified people and they understand the cultural sensitivity that exists between Native Americans. NAGPRA issues require people who have specialized training on Native American Culture and NAGPRA. The PAHMA has the responsibility to care for our ancestors, artifacts, and cultural items, and they have worked very hard to build that trust with us. It would be a tragedy and an insult to disband the NAGPRA unit. We urge you to reconsider, to avoid a disastrous mistake that will be an injustice to Native Americans and will damage the University relations with Tribal Governments. If you have questions or comments you may contact Melany L. Johnson, Cultural Resource Specialist, at 530-251-5633 or

Mr. Stacy Dixon
SIR Tribal Chair

Cc: NECATNC Members
SIR Tribal Government Liaison Committee
Melany L. Johnson, SIR
Larri Fredericks, PAHMA