The Smithsonian Institution returned precious artifacts to the Yurok Indians in California in what is one of the largest repatriations of Native American ceremonial artifacts in U.S. history.
The Yurok received 217 sacred items that had been stored on museum shelves for nearly 100 years. The necklaces, headdresses, arrows, hides, and other regalia from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian are believed to be hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.
These kinds of repatriations are mandated by the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. As recent reports have shown, the federal government is grieviously in violation of its own law and many, many years behind in complying with the requirement to return these types of items to their true owners.