The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was written in Federal Law under the George H.W. Bush Administration on November 16, 1990. The NAGRPA Act requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American "cultural items" to the lineal descendants of that culture (as well as culturally affiliated Indian tribes) and Native Hawaiian organizations. Cultural items include human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. A program of federal grants assists in the repatriation process and the Secretary of the Interior may assess civil penalties on museums that fail to comply. NAGPRA also establishes procedures for the inadvertent discovery or planned excavation of Native American cultural items on federal or tribal lands. While these provisions do not apply to discoveries or excavations on private or state lands, the collection provisions of the Act may apply to Native American cultural items if they come under the control of an institution that receives federal funding. NAGPRA makes it a criminal offense to traffic in Native American human remains without right of possession or in Native American cultural items obtained in violation of the Act. Penalties for a first offense may reach 12 months imprisonment and a $100,000 fine.

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