Date of Graduation

Winter 12-16-2016

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Museum Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Museum Studies

First Advisor

Marjorie Schwarzer

Second Advisor

Paula Birnbaum


The California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (Cal NAGPRA) became state law in 2001. Its purpose was to create a process whereby California tribes could seek to repatriate human remains and objects from their cultural heritage from museums and custodial institutions. Cal NAGPRA includes a number of shortcomings that have impeded the ability of tribes to successfully reclaim objects from their heritage. The ethical implications of museums retaining cultural objects and human remains, often confiscated from Native peoples or their tribal lands, has been a principal social justice topic of USF’s museum studies program. This capstone describes a legislative advocacy plan to amend Cal NAGPRA to address many of its statutory deficiencies, thereby honoring the spirit of this civil rights law and promoting full implementation of repatriation activities.