NAIS Speaker Series: “Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act: Help Us Rebury Our Ancestors” by Dr. Mario Garza and Maria Rocha

Thu, November 1, 2018 | RLP 1.302D

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Dr. Mario Garza and Maria Rocha
Dr. Mario Garza and Maria Rocha

Dr. Mario Garza and Maria Rocha from the Indigenous Cultures Institute in San Marcos, Texas will deliver the first talk in NAIS's 2018 Fall Speaker Series.

"The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) databases list more than 7 million Culturally Unidentifiable Inventoried (CUI) Native American remains of our ancestors that have been unearthed over the years and are kept in “collections” by universities, museums, and federal and state departments. This has happened in a country where it is against the law to disturb a human grave. As of 2015, the remains of 3,454 ancestors were removed from our Texas sacred grounds.  Our obligation, as native people, as Texas Indians, is to obtain possession of these ancestral remains and rebury them as close as possible to where they were unearthed." (

Dr. Mario Garza is an elder of the Miakan/Garzas Band of the Coahuiltecan, a state-legislature-recognized tribe of Texas. He has a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. from Michigan State University and he currently researches and presents educational lectures about Native Americans. Dr. Garza has decades of involvement in the Native American community, including repatriation of remains, successful development of indigenous nonprofits, re-establishment of ceremonial sites, Native arts and events, and political issues. His lectures cover a range of topics including local efforts in repatriation, indigeneity of Hispanics, and contributions of Native Americans.

Maria Rocha is secretary and executive director of the Indigenous Cultures Institute which is dedicated to the research and preservation of culture, arts, traditions, ceremonies and language of the Indigenous peoples that populated what is now Southern Texas and Northern Mexico, collectively known as Coahuiltecans.

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