March 2021 Proposed Revisions to UC Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy



The University of California invites you to comment on proposed revisions to UC’s Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy (PDF).

Following the release of three draft Policy versions between August 2019 and April 2020, on July 24, 2020, President Janet Napolitano issued the current UC Policy as interim (PDF) to allow tribes who were unable to engage with UC due to the COVID-19 pandemic additional time to comment through November 15, 2020, with the intent that UC would issue a final Policy on or around December 31, 2020.

On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed into law AB 275, which became effective on January 1, 2021. AB 275 made significant changes to the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ("CalNAGPRA") which required the University to further analyze and update the Interim Policy to reconcile it with these new requirements. UC additionally received comments from responding tribes and the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) urging UC to allocate additional time to ensure that AB 275 could be fully incorporated into the Policy.

UC heard these concerns, and agreed that, rather than issuing a final Policy by December 31, 2020, as originally intended, allocating additional time would result in a better Policy that more fully incorporates these new requirements. The University’s new goal is to issue the final revised Policy by July 31, 2021 (see timeline below).

Through this revised Policy, we will continue our efforts to strengthen University practices and procedures designed to facilitate the repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains and cultural items in compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act ("NAGPRA"), its accompanying regulations, and CalNAGPRA. We are confident these revisions will be consistent not only with the law but with the values and principles of the University, including the fundamental value of repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains and cultural items.

Copies of Draft (March 1, 2021) Revised Policy

Clean and redlined copies are available in both Word and PDF format:

Summary of Major Changes

The revised Policy released for review on March 1, 2021 now incorporates new CalNAGPRA requirements as specified in AB 275. Key changes include:

  • Definitions (§ II) have been added and revised where needed to align with CalNAGPRA.
  • As required by CalNAGPRA, deference to tribal traditional knowledge, oral histories, documentation, and testimonies is now indicated when determining state cultural affiliation, identifying cultural items under CalNAGPRA, and making decisions related to the CalNAGPRA repatriation process (§§ V.C.1 and V.J.1).
  • In consultation with California Native American tribes, campuses must prepare preliminary inventories/summaries for submission to the NAHC (§§ V.B.1.k, V.C.1, and V.C.5).
  • The AB 275 dispute procedures have been added (§ V.I).
  • The AB 275 procedures for submissions of claims under CalNAGPRA have been incorporated (§ V.D.3).
  • The flowcharts and corresponding narrative previously described in Appendices A, A-1, and B of the Interim Policy have been removed. These documents were intended as visual aids in understanding the consultation, claims, repatriation, and appeals processes described in the Interim Policy rather than as a means of separately conveying policy requirements not described in the Interim Policy. However, as stated in the revised Policy (§§ III.C, V.B.1.i, V.B.2, V.D.1, V.D.3, V.I, V.J.3, and VI.1), UC will maintain these flowcharts on UCOP’s NAGPRA website. This will allow UC to make more responsive ongoing updates to the flowcharts to clarify these processes as they are more fully implemented, based on feedback from tribes, the NAHC, and UC committee members and repatriation staff.

Please note: The current flowcharts and narrative incorporated into the Interim Policy are still under review to incorporate AB 275 requirements. Revised flowcharts and narratives will be posted upon completion.


Below is the expected timeline for the development and final issuance of the Policy.

  • Comprehensive Review Phase: March 1 - May 31, 2021. Distribute Draft Policy for review and comment from the California Native American communities, the Native American Heritage Commission, and UC Community.
  • Revise Policy after Comprehensive Review: June 1 - June 30, 2021
  • UC Internal Review and Issuance: July 1 - July 31, 2021
  • Policy issued by President Drake: July 31, 2021

Submission of Comments

We would greatly appreciate your continued willingness to share your comments and perspectives with us as we finalize this Policy. In addition to seeking input from Native American tribes, we are simultaneously seeking review and comment from UC stakeholders and the NAHC.

You may submit a request for consultation on the draft Policy and/or may submit comments via email to As UC Office of the President staff continue to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that you refrain from submitting letters by mail.

We would appreciate receiving your comments no later than May 31, 2021. If you have any questions or technical issues, please contact Lourdes DeMattos at or (510) 987-9850.

This Policy underscores repatriation as a fundamental value and is key to improving UC’s relationships with Native American communities. We thank you for taking the time to provide us with your thoughts.