California State Parks Tribal Affairs Program
The Tribal Affairs Program is housed within the Cultural Resources Division at the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). The Tribal Affairs Program manages statewide tribal policies, oversees the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Program, and supports the development of Tribal Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). The Tribal Affairs Program also assists with Tribal Consultations, special projects, and general tribal affairs.
NAGPRA Program: The Department’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Program works with Native American tribes to identify and repatriate cultural items subject to NAGPRA. These include Native American ancestral remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.
Tribal Consultation: The Department’s Tribal Liaison works to engage in open, respectful, ongoing consultation with appropriate California Native American tribes or groups on the proper management of areas, places, objects or burials associated with their heritage, sacred sites and traditional cultural properties or cultural traditions in the State Park System.
MOU Program: Through the Tribal MOU Program, Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between California Native American Tribes and California State Parks are created to systematically address cultural and natural resources of concern or interest to the tribes within Park Districts, Units, and Programs.
- On September 25, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom released a Statement of Administration Policy on Native American Ancestral Lands to encourage State entities to seek opportunities to support California tribes’ co-management of and access to natural lands that are within a California tribe’s ancestral land and under the ownership or control of the State of California, and to work cooperatively with California tribes that are interested in acquiring natural lands in excess of State needs.
- On September 25, 2020, California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and State Parks Director Armando Quintero announced a series of actions to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to California State Park System. The Department’s Tribal Affairs Program will assist with the identification and redress of discriminatory names of concern to California Native American tribes. The Reexamining Our Past webpage will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
- On September 25, 2020, the Governor signed AB 275 from Assemblymember James Ramos (D-Highland), which strengthens the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 2001 for non-federally recognized California Native American tribes and elevates the status of tribal traditional knowledge in determining cultural affiliation and identifying cultural items, among other changes to the law.