NAGPRA Committee

FLC NAGPRA Committee members and members of the Zuni Cultural Resources Advisory Team (ZCRAT) during the September 6, 2018, NAGPRA Consultation. l to r: Shelby Tisdale, Presley Haskie (ZCRAT), Kathy Fine-Dare, Octavius Seowtewa (ZCRAT), Eldred Quam (ZCRAT), Blythe Morrison, Chuck Riggs, and Liz Quinn MacMillan


The purpose of the Fort Lewis College NAGPRA Committee is to carry out directives from the College President based in part on advice received from Tribal Nations and Pueblos and from the National NAGPRA Office; to advise the President based on Committee concerns and discussions; to address concerns from campus and community; and to provide guidance to the ongoing FLC NAGPRA compliance process. The FLC NAGPRA Committee is comprised of FLC faculty and staff, community members, and at least one FLC Native American student. Per the FLC NAGPRA Policy, at least three committee members are to be of Native American ancestry. The Committee meets at least three times a year and reports to the President of the College, who selects Committee members, ideally on an annual basis.

FLC NAGPRA Committee members 2019-2020:

  • Bridget Ambler, Supervisory Curator, Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center & Museum
  • Cassandra Atencio, NAGPRA Coordinator, Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • Garrett Briggs, NAGPRA Apprentice, Southern Ute Indian Tribe
  • Kathleen Fine-Dare, Committee Chair; Anthropology emeritus faculty
  • Ernest House, Jr., Keystone Policy Center and FLC Board of Trustees
  • Kristin Kayaani, FLC Student Representative
  • Terry Knight, Sr., Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Blythe Morrison, FLC NAGPRA Project Collections Specialist
  • Dawn Mulhern*, FLC Curator of Osteological Collections
  • Billy Nollet, FLC Physics and Engineering faculty
  • Elizabeth Quinn MacMillan, Curator, FLC Center of Southwest Studies
  • Nikki Shurack, THPO Administrator, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • Chuck Riggs*, FLC Curator of Archaeological Collections
  • Shelby Tisdale*, Director, FLC Center of Southwest Studies

*Ex officio members

NAGPRA Committee Goals 2019-2020

  1. To review progress made regarding NAGPRA compliance by Fort Lewis College during the NAGPRA 2017-2020 grant activity period;
  2. To assist with repatriation/transfer of control of 43 ancestral individuals following the Colorado State Burial Process;
  3. To discuss procedures regarding the addition of new human remains findings in collections;
  4. To assist with any consultation activities during 2019-2020;
  5. To carefully consider matters of informed consent, ethics, and respectful best practices surrounding the proper treatment of Native American human remains and cultural objects housed on a campus with a legacy of serving Native American students and the relationship of this treatment to the well-being of students, staff, and faculty; and
  6. To evaluate the work of the NAGPRA Liaison (formerly known as the Tribal Liaison) and set Committee and campus goals for the coming year.

NAGPRA Committee Goals 2018-2019

Under the leadership of President Tom Stritikus, NAGPRA Committee goals for the 2018-2019 academic year included:

  1. Reviewing progress made regarding NAGPRA compliance by Fort Lewis College during the NAGPRA 2017-2019 grant activity period;
  2. Reviewing FLC NAGPRA policy based on recommendations made during consultations held with representatives of Tribal nations and Pueblos during the 2018-2019 academic year;
  3. Contributing to discussions regarding the repatriation to Native American communities of ancestral human remains and associated funerary objects as well as objects of cultural patrimony, sacred objects, and unassociated funerary objects currently under the care of Fort Lewis College;
  4. Discussing matters of informed consent, ethics, and respectful best practices surrounding the proper treatment of Native American human remains and cultural objects housed on a campus with a legacy of serving Native American students and the relationship of this treatment to the well-being of students, staff, and faculty; and
  5. Evaluating the work of the Tribal Liaison and setting Committee and campus goals for the coming year.

NAGPRA Committee Accomplishments 2018-2019

1. The Committee met four times: January 12, March 16, and November 9 of 2018, and March 27 of 2019. It was agreed during the March 27 meeting that the Committee would not meet again until early in the Fall semester of 2019.

2. President Tom Stritikus approved the addition of two new Committee members, one to represent the student body (Kristin Kayaani, Diné) and the other to represent the FLC Center of Southwest Studies (Curator Liz Quinn MacMillan).

3. Over several months spanning 2018 and 2019 the Committee assisted with hosting representatives of fourteen Tribes and Pueblos to conduct consultation activities supported by the federal NAGPRA grant received by FLC. These Native nations include The Hopi Tribe, The Jicarilla Apache Nation, The Pueblo of Acoma, The Pueblo of Laguna, The Navajo Nation, The Pueblo of San Felipe, The Pueblo of San Ildefonso, the Pueblo of Santa Clara, The Southern Ute Indian Tribe, The Pueblo of Tesuque, The Ute Indian Tribe, The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, and the Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Reservation.

4. Following a NAGPRA Committee request, NAGPRA Committee members and NAGPRA grant co-PIs Kathy Fine-Dare and Shelby Tisdale met on November 27, 2018, with representatives of the La Plata County Historical Society/Animas Museum regarding a split collections issue (FLC is in possession of funerary objects split from ancestral remains in the Animas Museum).

5. The Committee approved a request to file a Notice of Inventory Completion for three sets of culturally affiliated ancestral remains. The Notice was submitted to the National Park Service on March 1, 2019 and published on June 13, 2019.

6. The Committee supported undergoing the Form B Disposition Process so that 40 ancestral individuals classified as culturally unidentified may be transferred jointly to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. NAGPRA Liaison and NAGPRA Committee Chair Dr. Kathy Fine-Dare requested letters of support from all 49 State of Colorado consulting Tribes and Pueblos for the Form B Disposition Process. It is anticipated that the package will be submitted late in 2019 with approval and repatriation targeted for 2020.

Some accomplishments of the NAGPRA Committee 2017-2018:

  1. President Dene Thomas appointed 5 new committee members to represent the local Ute nations and the CCIA; In addition, she created the College’s first budget line for NAGPRA compliance activities and approved the establishment of the first FLC NAGPRA office, located in the Center of Southwest Studies. Finally, the position of FLC NAGPRA Coordinator—which had previously focused solely on human remains—was eliminated and replaced by that of a NAGPRA Tribal Liaison with a purview covering all aspects of NAGPRA compliance and performance expectations outlined in the FLC NAGPRA Policy.
  2. President Thomas also appointed a Native American student to the committee;
  3. The college was awarded a National Park Service NAGPRA Consultation and Documentation Grant for $89,878 (S. Tisdale and K. Fine-Dare, co-PIs);
  4. The college established its first clear process for FLC NAGPRA compliance activities; and
  5. The NAGPRA Committee revised the FLC NAGPRA policy according to schedule.
nagpra committee

The National Park Service grant supports FLC’s work in documenting existing collections and consultation with potentially culturally affiliated Native American Tribal nations to determine the affiliation of NAGPRA items in its collections.

NAGPRA Committee members 2017-2018, l to r: Chuck Riggs, Kay Holmes, Terry Knight, Sr., Kathy Fine-Dare, and Jeanne Brako