chapter  7
18 Pages

NAGPRA, CUI and institutional will

WithD. Rae Gould

This chapter discusses one of the major issues in the US repatriation process: the practice of institutions categorizing ancestors as CUI, or "culturally unidentifiable", to resist repatriation to the rightful tribes. The CUI designation is used to impede repatriation of ancestors, as it can be arbitrarily applied and hides the politics of an institution resistant to Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The chapter provides several case studies that demonstrate how institutional will has developed within many museums and universities, while others continue to practice retentive and more "internationalist" philosophies and resist repatriation of both human remains and funerary objects, clearly contrary to the human rights component intended within the spirit of NAGPRA. It also offers an analysis of the (all too common) rhetoric institutions and individuals use regarding their support of NAGPRA against the actual practices they engage in.