Report 2022-107 Recommendation 4 Responses

Report 2022-107: Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act: The California State University Must Do More to Ensure the Timely Return of Native American Remains and Cultural Items to Tribes (Release Date: June 2023)

Recommendation #4 To: University, California State

To ensure that it adequately oversees campus repatriation activity, the Chancellor's Office should establish a systemwide NAGPRA oversight committee by December 2023. By this same date, the Chancellor's Office should implement a process for campuses to periodically report their repatriation activity to the systemwide oversight committee. Further, it should require that campuses with more than 100 remains and cultural items also establish NAGPRA committees.

6-Month Agency Response

On October 10, 2023, the Governor signed Assembly Bill 389, which was incorporated into the California Education Code (code) and imposed similar requirements concerning CSU compliance with CalNAGPRA, with some variations in process and timing. To meet the requirements outlined in the code, the CSU requires additional time to create a formal Systemwide NAGPRA Committee (systemwide committee). Specifically, California tribes and the Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) have requested additional time to submit nominations, so the deadline for systemwide committee nominations was extended to February 2, 2024. The nominations will be reviewed and voted on by the NAHC at an upcoming quarterly meeting. The approved list of nominees will then go to the chancellor to select and appoint the systemwide committee members.

In addition, each campus with one or more items in its collection will have its own NAGPRA committee (campus committee). The process for creating the campus committees is the same as for the systemwide committee and will require additional time to establish in collaboration with the tribes and the NAHC. The Chancellor's Office has mailed materials about the committee nomination process to the tribes and issued a press release to generate nominations.

Once the systemwide committee is established and convened, it will assume the oversight of campus repatriation activities.

In the meantime, on October 30, 2023, the Chancellor's Office provided all 21 campuses with NAGPRA collections with the Campus Repatriation Implementation Plan (Plan). The Plan required each campus to provide a first response to the Chancellor's Office by December 15, 2023, with the status of their inventory assessment (an initial step in the repatriation activity process). The Chancellor's Office is reviewing the campus responses and will determine intervals for ongoing reporting and monitoring.

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

60-Day Agency Response

The Chancellor's Office is working closely with the Native American Heritage Committee (NAHC) to develop the process for establishing the systemwide NAGPRA oversight committee. The Chancellor's Office drafted several NAGPRA oversight committee development documents, which are pending approval.

The Chancellor's Office plans to issue a Repatriation Implementation Plan to campuses. The Repatriation Implementation Plan will require campuses to periodically report their repatriation activity.

Currently, 11 campuses have NAGPRA committees. The Chancellor's Office will require these campuses to ensure the committees have balanced representation. In addition, the Chancellor's Office will require the 8 remaining campuses with more than 100 remains and cultural items to also establish NAGPRA committees.

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

All Recommendations in 2022-107

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.