Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Amy Margaris
Greggor Mattson


NAGPRA, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Legal consciousness, Legal culture, Cultural property, Museum law, Archaeology, New world, Native American, Legal Anthropology


This thesis explores the "life history" of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). It chronicles NAGPRA's story beginning with what created the perceived need for such an act, the work and the groups of people that went into its ultimate advent in 1990, the "nitty-gritty" details/language of the policy itself, and its various successes and failures throughout the years. With research conducted through the lens of legal anthropology, this paper focuses on the certain "requirements" (education, class, race, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, etc.) that have allowed people(s) to actively participate in the formation/policy-building of NAGPRA, become NAGPRA representatives, and benefit from the policy.

The primary focus of this thesis is on the question "What is the legal culture of NAGPRA?" It examines NAGPRA's legal culture by utilizing American sociologists Patricia Ewick and Susan S. Silbey's legal consciousnesses of before, with, and against the law. It then goes on to show that a fourth, new consciousness --beyond the law -- presents itself in the legal culture of NAGPRA. This fourth consciousness is developed in this thesis and necessary to more fully address the spirit of the law -- a key force in building and sustaining the legal culture of NAGPRA.

Included in

Anthropology Commons