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Our work in service of Native Communities

Since the introduction of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in 1990, OMCA has complied with the Act’s requirements and remains committed to ensuring continued compliance. The Federal law provides for the protection and return of Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. Any agency or institution that receives Federal funds must comply with NAGPRA requirements.

To further our work in service of Native communities, in 2006, OMCA established its Native Advisory Council (NAC), an advisory group formed to ensure accurate representation of Native peoples in all our programming. The seven members are Native Californian community leaders who are compensated for their efforts in providing advice on Museum collections and NAGPRA issues affecting the museum; helping develop temporary exhibitions and public programs; serving as key advisors in the ongoing work of the main galleries; and advising in other matters relating to Indigenous peoples of California. 

In Enero 2024, NAGPRA regulations were revised to require consultation with and consent from affiliated Tribes before organizations can display, access, or perform research on human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. OMCA’s administration and our Native Advisory Council have reviewed the objects from Native American cultures that are on view in the galleries and have no specific concerns regarding the display of these items. Based on our commitment to collaboration with Native communities, OMCA is working on steps to confirm this determination and will respect requests for display changes. 

As part of OMCA’s broader work towards accountability with Native communities, we are actively working with both our Native Advisory Council and with Sogorea Te’ in finalizing OMCA’s Native Accountability Statement and Land Acknowledgement. This statement not only acknowledges the wrongs done, but explicitly states what OMCA is doing to be accountable to our local Native community and across California. One of the actions listed is that we have paid—and are committed to continue paying—the Shuumi Land Tax, a voluntary annual contribution by non-Indigenous peoples living in the area of the Oakland Museum of California can make to support the work of the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.

OMCA’s history of partnership with and respect for Native communities is at the center of our ongoing journey to becoming a more equitable, anti-racist institution. We fully support the intentions of the new NAGPRA regulations and welcome them as opportunities for not just continuing, but expanding and deepening our relationships with Native communities.