Cecily Harms


A primary goal of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is to correct the human rights violations committed against Native Americans from centuries of grave looting, stealing, and improper sales of cultural items. In the twenty-two years since NAGPRA's passage, the human rights foundation of the Act has been overshadowed by struggles regarding interpretation and implementation. The museums and Native American tribes of Colorado have not lost sight of NAGPRA's human rights foundation, however. Their commitment to the spirit of NAGPRA is evident in the museums' and tribes' approach to basic implementation and taking the initiative to develop state law to fill gaps in NAGPRA several years before federal regulations addressed the same issue. The collaboration between Colorado museums and tribes is, therefore, a model for NAGPRA implementation today and for the future.