One of the next obstacles for tribes will be the claiming of associated and unassociated funerary objects from remains deemed culturally unidentifiable. Under the new regulations, funerary objects are not covered. This is going to be a exercise in frustration working with some museums, while with other museums, it will be not much of an issue, because some museums believe it’s a given that funerary objects go back with the remains.

So what can be done? Lots of consultation, as usual, with the hope that museum staff understand the importance of having grave items returned as well. It once again depends on individuals, as opinions and interpretations of the law vary from one to the next. Unassociated funerary objects for CUI are not covered at all under NAGPRA, which can go both ways. A museum can simply deaccession the items to the appropriate tribe, or, not give them back what so ever. It comes down to morals and ethics, science and scholars.

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