As provided for in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) is actively seeking the return all ancestral Native American human remains, funerary objects, articles of cultural patrimony, and sacred objects removed from the Wampanoag Nation’s ancestral homelands from museums and other public institutions. The Tribal Council has created a Tribal Repatriation Officer position and a Cultural Resource Commission to act on behalf of the Tribe in the repatriation and re-internment of all artifacts.
The Wampanoag Confederation was formed in January of 1996 specifically to provide a means for the Wampanoag Nation to address important repatriation issues. The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) joined the Wampanoag Confederation in June of 1997 and extended its rights and responsibilities to repatriate all ancestral Native American human remains, funerary objects, articles of cultural patrimony, and sacred objects removed from its ancestral homeland by to the Wampanoag Confederation in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
The Tribe has sponsored two grants from the National Park Service (NPS) to assist the Confederation in the development of a state-of-the-art data base to enable participating Wampanoag Tribes to record and research the artifacts held by museums and federal agencies; the development of repatriation policies for the Wampanoag Confederation; defining and mapping the Wampanoag Nation’s ancestral homelands; conducting consultation visits with museums regarding their inventories and summaries; and providing every affected museum and federal agency with a packet of information concerning the Wampanoag Confederation’s repatriation program. The second phase of the Confederation’s project continued to plan for the repatriation of ancestral human remains and associated funerary objects, as well as sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony; identified suitable burial sites for the re-internment of ancestral human remains and associated funerary objects; and codified tribal repatriation procedures.
Copies of the following Wampanoag Confederation documents can be accessed using Adobe Acrobat Reader, including:
Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Resolution 98-12, Repatriation of Native American Remains, Funerary Objects, Articles of Cultural Patrimony, and Sacred Objects
Wampanoag Confederation Repatriation Project Information Packet
Map of the Wampanoag Nation Ancestral Homeland
Wampanoag Confederation repatriation data base (WTGH-A Library)
Important NAGPRA websites: