Slow Repatriation Efforts Plague UC Berkeley

Among Native communities, federal officials, and museum employees across the United States, The University of California at Berkeley has a longstan...

November 17, 2022
7:56 PM

Among Native communities, federal officials, and museum employees across the United States, The University of California at Berkeley has a longstanding reputation as the institution with the most Native American human remains and associated burial objects in its collection. At its peak, UC Berkeley's Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology held about 12,000 ancestors, according to the data it self-reported under federal law in the late 90s. In the last several decades, since both federal and state law in California have mandated the catalog and return of Native American human remains and burial objects, UC Berkeley has returned 3,000 ancestors— or just 25 percent of its total holdings.

Jenna Kunze