Department of the Interior

News Header
Office of the Secretary
John Wright, 202-208-6416
For Immediate Release: June 18, 2004
Secretary Norton Appoints Three New Members to Native
Protection and Repatriation Review Committee

WASHINGTON-Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced the appointment of three new members to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Review Committee. The seven-member committee is charged with monitoring, reviewing, and assisting in implementation of the NAGPRA.

"The review committee serves a critical role in ensuring the goals of NAGPRA are carried out," Norton said. "I am pleased with the willingness and commitment of these new members to take on this important challenge. I look forward to the recommendations and advice of the full committee on this very important issue."

The Act requires that federal agencies and museums that receive federal funds provide information about and, in certain circumstances, repatriate Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony to lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations. The law also provides additional protection for Native American cultural items discovered on federal or tribal lands.

Appointments to the review committee are selected from nominations to the Secretary of the Interior by Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations and national museum and scientific organizations. The following new members are appointed for four-year terms:

Willie Jones, a respected traditional religious leader from the Lummi Nation in Washington. Mr. Jones has served since 1977, as a member and chairman of the Lummi Nation Business Council as well as the Tribe's general manager. He is currently a member of the Lummi Cultural Resource Protection and Repatriation Committee and the NAGPRA committee of the National Congress of American Indians.

Dr. Vincas P. Steponaitis, a professor of anthropology and director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Steponaitis was personally involved in working out key compromises that enabled passage of NAGPRA. He is a former president of the Society for American Archaeology and currently serves as an advisor to the society's repatriation committee.

Dan L. Monroe, executive director and chief executive officer of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Mr. Monroe also played a central role in negotiating compromise language included in NAGPRA. He is a former president of the American Association of Museums and served as a member of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee from 1992 to 1996.

The three new members join Dr. Garrick Bailey, Ms. Vera Metcalf, Mr. Lee Staples, and Dr. Rosita Worl on the seven-member review committee.