Proposed Revised Presidential Policy on Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation

September 20, 2019

 HR Policy


Dear Colleagues,

The Office of the President invites comments on a proposed revised Presidential Policy on Native American Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation (“Revised Policy”). 

The Policy revises the existing Policy and Procedures on Curation and Repatriation of Human Remains and Cultural Items (“Current Policy”). It pertains to the treatment and repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains and cultural items under the University’s stewardship and the University’s compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (“NAGPRA”). This Policy was developed by a workgroup established by Provost Brown, the Cultural Affiliation and Repatriation Policy Advisory. The Policy Advisory Workgroup is comprised of four members nominated by the Academic Senate, and four members nominated by the Native American Advisory Council, a body also established by President Napolitano to advise on a broad range of issues pertaining to Native Americans and Native Hawaiians at the University. 

While a revision, the Revised Policy is substantially different and more detailed than the Current Policy. As such, UCOP did not create a redlined version of the Revised Policy. Instead, we highlight below a list of some of the significant revisions to the Policy: 

• Creates a list of principles that emphasizes the repatriation of Native American and Native Hawaiian human remains as a fundamental objective and value of the University. Revised Policy, § III.B. 

• Reconstitutes the Systemwide Committee and Campus Committees to strengthen Native American representation. Revised Policy, § V.A. 

• Shifts final approvals of repatriation to the campus from UCOP to reduce delays in repatriation; the Systemwide Committee and UCOP will provide an oversight role and consider appeals of campus decisions. Revised Policy, § V.E.4. 

• Requires campuses to appoint a NAGPRA liaison to work with and assist Native American tribes to facilitate repatriation. Revised Policy, §§ IV.6 & V.B. 

• Describes a process for disposition of culturally unidentifiable human remains, which has been enacted in federal regulations since 2010 and was allowable under the Current Policy, but had not been explicitly stated. Revised Policy, § V.E.3. 

• Requires campuses to create a Strategic Repatriation Plan. Revised Policy, § V.F. 

• Requires campuses to proactively (i) review existing materials that may potentially contain Native American or Native Hawaiian human remains or cultural items; and (ii) reevaluate previous determinations of culturally unidentifiable human remains in consultation with Native American tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations. Revised Policy, § V.C.3. 

• Establishes as policy the respectful stewardship of human remains and cultural items when in the University’s care. Revised Policy, § V.I. 

• Establishes tribal consultation and approval requirements for access to human remains for research, instruction, exhibition, or other purposes. Revised Policy, § V.I.4. 

• Provides a more robust mechanism for Native American tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to appeal campus determinations. Revised Policy, § V.H. 

The Current Policy can be read here, while the Revised Policy may be read here

Employees covered by this policy who wish to provide comments on the proposed revisions may submit them to Lourdes DeMattos at or (510) 987-9850 by November 15, 2019. 


Thank you for your time and consideration.


HR Policy Team


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