Twenty years ago, the United States enacted the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which required the return of Native American remains and artifacts to tribes. In a special News package, Science explores the impact of the law on archaeology and society, probing the tensions between Native Americans and archaeologists as they try to conduct research while helping tribes reclaim these ancient dead.
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In the past 20 years, archaeologists and Native Americans have achieved a measure of reconciliation, but a new controversy threatens their tenuous relations.
For an archaeologist, the job of removing objects from museums and returning them to Native Americans can be by turns stressful, saddening, and rewarding.
The small but growing community of Native American archaeologists sometimes finds that tribal traditions clash with scientific inquiry.
Different cultures have wildly divergent views of their long-dead ancestors, with profound consequences for the kinds of research that can be done.
Researchers and Native Americans may be headed for new clashes over the most ancient American remains, but in at least one instance the two communities collaborated—and produced good data—on one of these rare skeletons.
Can DNA help Sitting Bull's great-grandson prove his heritage and find the warrior's remains while giving science a rare glimpse of an early Native American's genes?
Native Americans and scientists have had tense relations over the question of testing ancient remains. So why did Lakota Ernie LaPointe allow geneticist Eske Willerslev to take a snippet of Sitting Bull's hair?