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The following is a result of a two-year grant from the National Park Service to create a Southeast Alaska database. It includes information on various museums' holdings of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian materials, contact information of the 30 NAGPRA eligible Native entities in Southeast Alaska, a list of current and past NAGPRA related grant activities in Southeast Alaska and a list of successful repatriation claims to Native entities in the region.

The database also includes suggested repatriation procedures, a guide for resolving repatriation disputes, and template documents for use in repatriation activities.

If you have any recommendations or questions, please contact SHI Cultural Projects Coordinator, Sarah Dybdahl at 907.586.9234 or

NAGPRA Contacts
  NAGPRA Office
  Southeast Alaska Native Organizations (eligible to file NAGPRA claims)
  Recent recipients (in Southeast Alaska)
  Descriptions of recent projects (in Southeast Alaska)
NAGPRA Resources
  Museums by region
  Objects currently in museums
    Chilkat weavings
    Tlingit wooden hats
    Tlingit woven hats
    Tlingit headdresses and frontlets
  Template documents (about this section)
    Memorandum of agreement between clan and museum or SHI
    Title transfer and release
    Resolution authorizing Sealaska to repatriate on behalf of a clan
    Resolution authorizing Sealaska to repatriate on behalf of a village corp. or tribe
  SHI repatriation procedures (about this section)
    Tlingit clan trust property law & dispute resolution
    Repatriation claim procedures

For more information about NAGPRA see


Sealaska Heritage Institute assists with repatriation efforts in several key ways:

  • SHI helps to repatriate cultural objects by writing repatriation claims on behalf of clans or by helping tribal members write claims.
  • SHI trains tribal members on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The institute's most recent training seminar was Dec. 5-7, 2002 in Juneau. SHI secured a federal grant to bring tribal representatives from across the region to the conference, attended by about 40 people from 12 Southeast communities. (Photos) (News Article)
  • SHI in 2004 received a NAGPRA grant to document clan hats in museums across the country. Part of the project involves reviewing over 100 files SHI has received from museums about objects in their collections. SHI staff visited two California museums in 2004 more than 100 objects from Southeast Alaska. The institute will visit 10 villages in 2005 to share the information gathered from the museum visits and to start the consultation and subsequent repatriation process.
  • SHI recently assisted the Harvard Peabody Museum on a project to develop a web-based tribal consultation and repatriation system between the museum and Alaska Natives. This was a first step in the consultation and repatriation process required under NAGPRA.
  • SHI President Rosita Worl serves on the federally-appointed NAGPRA Review Committee, a seven-member advisory panel based in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the committee is "to monitor and review the implementation of the inventory and identification processes and repatriation activities required under federal law." In other words, Worl, a Tlingit anthropologist, is positioned to make sure the interests of the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian are served under NAGPRA. The appointment also allows her to stay on top of current events affecting NAGPRA practices.
  • Worl also serves as trustee to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, established by Congress in 1989. Worl chairs NMAI's Collection/Acquisition Committee and serves on the Repatriation and Program Planning Committees. Worl is working with NMAI to provide curation training in Southeast Alaska to allow communities to care for objects repatriated under NAGPRA. She also is striving for partnership programs between NMAI and Native tribes and organizations. NMAI includes museums at three sites: the George Gustav Heye Center at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York City; the Cultural Resources Center in Maryland and the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., scheduled to open in 2004.

Click photo to enlargeSHI Seeks Information About Old Tunic

Sealaska Heritage Institute is seeking information about an old Tlingit tunic, probably made in the early 20th century. If you have information about the tunic in the photo, please contact the institute at 907-463-4844.

News articles:
"Bringing history home; Historic Klukwan tunic repatriated to clan"
"Sealaska Heritage gets federal grant to help reclaim clan hats"
"Traditional Rattle Seized, Returned to Southeast"
"Archaeological Find Turns Into Landmark Court Case"
"Tlingit History Heads Home"
"Southeast Native Relic Returned"

Other NAGPRA Links
National Park Service - National NAGPRA Database
US Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation
University of Connecticut - Virtual Library - Archaeology Section