NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Native American cultural items, including pottery, weapons, and sacred objects have long been the target of theft and acquisitions by people seeking to collect or sell them.

Many times, schools and local governments acquire these objects too, and our tribal lands want them back.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies and museums to return certain Native American items, unless they can prove, with documentation, that they can possess the objects.

This is happening across the country, including right here, in North Dakota.

Right now, the University of North Dakota has hired a compliance liaison to help with the University’s ongoing repatriation efforts. This comes after the University discovered ancestral remains and cultural artifacts on campus that, under federal law, must be returned to their appropriate tribal homes.

“These do not belong in boxes in bags in basements. Give them back. Let us do, let us take care of them. Let us do the right thing,” said Michael Durglo, a historic preservationist.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office is working directly with our tribal leaders, making sure they can acquire these objects and finally bring them home.