NAGPRA Repatriation

From the The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), Pub. L. 101-601, 25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq., 104 Stat. 3048:

“The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was enacted on November 16, 1990, to address the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to Native American cultural items, including human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.”

Position Statement

The Valentine is committed to ensuring our complete compliance with NAGPRA guidelines and requirements while also engaging with tribal leadership, members of the community and other institutions to create a thoughtful, open process. Outlined within the Valentine’s mission is a commitment to use Richmond’s past to inform our community’s present and shape its future. Efforts to fulfill this commitment often lead to uncomfortable but important conversations about where we have been, where we are and where we hope to be.

If we are committed to telling the nuanced story of the city we call home, we must also be willing to share a more complete history of the original Valentine collection, which, like many museum collections in the late-19th century, had its origins in ethnographic items removed from native burial mounds. In the Valentine’s case, items were removed from sacred sites in Virginia and the Carolinas from the 1870s through the 1900s. We must recognize our founders’ role in the excavation of Native American cultural material and the responsibility we have to serve the affected populations and redress the cultural consequences of these excavations. In accordance with our mission, we hope to use our understanding of the museum’s own history to guide the development of a transparent, respectful process that complies with both the legal requirements and spirit of NAGPRA in the 21st century.

For additional information regarding our procedures for inquiries, consultation and more, please consult the Valentine’s NAGPRA Procedures Manual.

If you have additional questions, please contact the Registrar, Rachel Asbury Cole, at 804-649-0711 ext. 329 or email her at