New information has uncovered skeletal human remains used as teaching aids in anthropology classes, which were long believed to be non-Native, are in fact Native American in origin. Faculty and students unknowingly handled these ancestral remains in classes as recently as fall 2022.
Dartmouth made the discovery during a recent effort to ensure compliance and more proactively pursue repatriation under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Enacted in 1990, NAGPRA requires institutions like Dartmouth to make Native American ancestral remains in its possession available for repatriation.
This is a painful discovery, and President Philip J. Hanlon has offered an apology to the entire community, especially our Indigenous students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
Dartmouth has asked a team of external osteologists and archaeologists to re-inventory the collection and assist a team from the Hood Museum of Art and the Department of Anthropology to identify and repatriate these newly discovered ancestral remains.
Learn more here about how the discovery was made, what was found, and the steps Dartmouth is taking to ensure NAGPRA compliance moving forward.