Changes and Issues Addressed in UC's Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Interim Policy

Below is a summary of key components of the UC's Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Interim Policy, including significant changes and concerns addressed:

  1. Repatriation as Fundamental Value. The policy emphasizes repatriation of Native American Human Remains and Cultural Items as a fundamental objective and value of the University and creates a list of principles that undergird the policy. The policy also includes an acknowledgment of UC’s role in the acquisition of Human Remains and Cultural Items, and the injustices perpetrated on Native Americans and Native Hawaiians. Further, the policy states that ambiguities in the interpretation of this Policy should be resolved in light of UC’s fundamental value of Repatriation and the Policy’s underlying principles. [§ III.B]
  2. Composition of Committees. As required by AB 2836, the policy requires reconstitution of the Systemwide and Campus Committees to include equal Native American representation and includes specific committee procedures, including a requirement that tribes be invited to attend (in person or virtually) committee meetings where their request will be discussed. [§V.A]
  3. Research Use. The policy prohibits use of human remains and cultural items for research, instruction, or other purpose without explicit tribal authorization. [§V.J.4]
  4. Respect for Tribal Evidence. The policy states that UC respects and values tribal oral histories and sources of evidence. It clarifies that a single line of evidence may be sufficient to establish cultural affiliation, and acknowledges that in some cases, tribal oral histories and tribal sources of evidence may be the only evidence available. [§V.C.2.b]
  5. Process / Consistency. To promote transparency, collaboration, and consistency, the policy provides a detailed description of the repatriation process via a flowchart and flowchart narrative. The flowchart and flowchart narrative identify points where UC is required to communicate with tribes and provide opportunities to Tribes for their input. [Appendices A and A-1, and throughout the policy.]
  6. Tribal Input. The policy identifies opportunities for tribes to preview the documentation on which the committees will form their determinations, to add to it, and to present their cases directly to the committees, either in person or by writing. [§V.B.2 and Appendices A and A-1]
  7. Consultation Process. To promote best practices, consistency, respectful treatment and successful relationship building, the policy provides a detailed description of the consultation process. [§V.B.1. and Appendices A and A-1]
  8. Disposition of Culturally Unidentifiable items. The policy explicitly incorporates the process for the disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains and cultural items to either federally recognized tribes or non-federally recognized tribes (including California Indian Tribes) via NAGPRA (43 C.F.R. §10.11) and/or CalNAGPRA (Ca H&SC §§8010-30). (See also repatriation implementation plans below.) [§§ V.D.3-6 and VI, and Appendices A and A-1]
  9. Confidentiality. The policy addresses the need to maintain confidentiality of sensitive tribal information, including places that have traditional tribal cultural significance (such as locations of Native American graves, cemeteries, and sacred places). The policy provides tribes opportunities to identify confidential information and review documents shared with committees and draft notices before being published in the Federal Register. [§§ II, V.B.2, and Appendices A and A-1]
  10. Complaints and Appeals. The policy provides a means for tribes to submit complaints about any processes or to appeal any campus determination. [§ V.I.1-3 and Appendix B]
  11. Approvals at Campus Level. The policy shifts final approvals of repatriation to the campus from UCOP to reduce delays in repatriation; the role of the systemwide committee and UCOP will be to provide oversight and consistency and to hear appeals of campus determinations. [§§ V.A.1-2, Appendices A, A-1, and B, and §§ V.H, and V.I]
  12. Conflicts of Interests. The policy provides greater clarity about what constitutes a potential conflict of interest and how to manage it, including providing tribes the opportunity to identify potential conflicts. [§§ V.A.1 and V.A.2]
  13. Role of Repatriation Coordinators. The policy requires campuses to appoint a repatriation coordinator or point of contact to work with tribes to facilitate repatriation. The policy specifies the core duties and qualifications for these positions. [§IV.B]
  14. Repatriation Implementation Plans. The policy requires campuses create repatriation implementation plans, including the following elements: invitations for consultation and proactive reevaluations of all previous determinations of culturally unidentifiable human remains or associated funerary objects; outreach to culturally affiliated tribes; outreach to controlling agencies to prompt and encourage their repatriation efforts; budgets; and timelines. [§ VI and Appendix C]
  15. Respectful Treatment. The policy contains requirements for respectful treatment of human remains and cultural items, including management and preservation standards, access by lineal descendants and tribes, and consultation with tribes to determine appropriate care. The policy requires that Human Remains and Cultural Items be stored in dedicated spaces not accessed by the public, limits handling of human remains, and prohibits removal of items from UC premises, except when specific approval is provided (by UC and affected tribes). [§§ V.J.1-3]
  16. Assessment of Previously Unreported Holdings. The policy provides a detailed description on how campuses are to assess whether they have previously unreported holdings, describes what needs to be reported to the campus and systemwide committees, and provides the whistleblower UC Hotline to report noncompliance. [§V.E.1-3]
  17. Inter-campus Claims. The policy permits tribes to submit a single claim requesting inter-campus coordination. [Appendices A and A-1]
  18. Loans. The policy addresses loans to/from UC from/to external entities, and the conditions under which this can occur, including tribal consultation and approval. [§V.K.1-2]