Citizen named to NAGPRA review committee

Citizen named to NAGPRA review committee
( Muscogee (Creek) citizen John Beaver is one of three new appointees to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee.

Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer

Beaver nominated by MCN

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has named Muscogee (Creek) citizen John Beaver to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee.

The committee, authorized by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) monitors, reviews and assists in the implementation of certain requirements of the act.

Beaver is one of three, along with Honor Keeler and Barnaby Lewis, who were newly named to the seven-person committee by Zinke. With their appointments, there are now six in place with a final appointee to be named this summer. Armand Minthorn chairs the committee.

‘I am grateful that John, Honor and Barnaby have agreed to serve on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee,’ Zinke said in a U.S. Department of the Interior press release. ‘These roles are incredibly important in advising the Department on decisions on Native American human remains and cultural items. Their experience and guidance will be incredibly beneficial to the committee.’

The secretary receives nominations from Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, traditional Native American religious leaders and national museum and scientific organizations.

Beaver currently serves as curator of the MCN Cultural Center and Archives and said he was nominated by the Nation.

‘It was truly an honor to be nominated by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to serve on this committee. Previous to working for Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I was fortunate to have been directly involved in repatriation efforts through working at both the National Museum of the American Indian (which is subject to the NMAI Act repatriation legislation) and the Field Museum in Chicago who are to follow the NAGPRA laws.

‘I believe repatriation is a human rights issue. With this appointment I will strive to honor those confidences that the Muscogee (Creek) Nation placed in me with the nomination and I look forward to serving all tribes during my time on the committee,’ Beaver said in a written statement.

Keeler was formerly the director and founder of the International Repatriation Project at the Association on American Indian Affairs. Keeler is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Keeler was appointed from a list developed and consented to by all members of the review committee.

Lewis is the tribal historic preservation officer for and a member of the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona. Lewis was nominated by the Gila River Indian Community, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and Tohono O’odham Nation.

Enacted in 1990, NAGPRA requires museums and federal agencies to inventory and identify Native American human remains and cultural items in their collections, and to consult with Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations regarding repatriation. Section 10 of the act authorizes the secretary of the interior to award grants to assist in implementing provisions of the act. The National NAGPRA Program is administered by the National Park Service.

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