The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a Federal law passed in 1990. NAGPRA provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony -- to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. NAGPRA includes provisions for unclaimed and culturally unidentifiable Native American cultural items, intentional and inadvertent discovery of Native American cultural items on Federal and tribal lands, and penalties for noncompliance and illegal trafficking. In addition, NAGPRA authorizes Federal grants to Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and museums to assist with the documentation and repatriation of Native American cultural items, and establishes the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee to monitor the NAGPRA process and facilitate the resolution of disputes that may arise concerning repatriation under NAGPRA.

Who is our NAGPRA coordinator?

Dawn Marie Alapisco, M.A. 
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation (NAGPRA) Coordinator

Dawn Marie Alapisco joined the Office of Institutional Diversity as the NAGPRA Coordinator in July 2018. A former geriatric nurse, Dawn Marie returned to school for an advanced nursing degree only to fall in love with anthropology. She fell even deeper by working with the 2009 OSU Archeological Field School at the Newell Homestead in Champoeg, Oregon and the Bake House at Fort Yamhill, Oregon.

Her concerns surrounding quality of life and end of life issues led her into the field of human osteology and bioarchaeology. She received her HBS in Physical Anthropology/Archaeology from Oregon State University’s Honors College in 2012. Going straight into her Master’s program at OSU, she completed her Master of Arts in Applied Anthropology with the curation of the Umm el-Jimal Osteological Research Collection from Umm el-Jimal, Jordan. This collection, representing a population in transition from nomadic pastoralism to semi-settled agriculture, also represents a population caught in the middle of a series of rapidly changing sociopolitical settings. Dawn Marie’s primary research interests with the Umm el-Jimal Osteological Research Collection have focused on maternal and infant nutritional health during both the political and subsistence strategy transitions and how changes in nutrition influence bone development and maintenance through the lifespan. A secondary area of interest involves the gendered division of labor and increase in social stratification within this population.

Dawn Marie's experience with the people of Umm el-Jimal and passion for justice, especially for those who can no longer speak for themselves, naturally informs her work with NAGPRA and her responsibility to the ethical care of those Native ancestors temporarily in the care of Oregon State University. She has previously worked with the Office of Research Integrity and the Anthropology program here at OSU.