Dispute Between UC Berkeley, Pechanga Tribe over Artifacts

Mark Macarro
1 min readOct 5, 2018

As tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in California, Mark Macarro advocates for tribal, state, and federal policies that promote the tribe’s political self-determination and economic self-sufficiency. In addition to serving as a leader of the Pechanga Band, Mark Macarro maintains a commitment to tribal rights and serves on the board of the Native American Rights Fund, a nonprofit legal body that protects tribal rights around the world.

In July 2018, Mr. Macarro was interviewed for an article in CALmatters about an ongoing dispute between the Pechanga Band and the University of California, Berkeley, about the rights to the remains of tribal members. According to legislation such as the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), tribes such as the Pechanga have a right to retake possession of tribal cultural artifacts plundered by anthropologists, museum curators, and archaeologists over the previous several centuries.

The dispute between the Pechanga Band and UC Berkeley centers on the fact that some tribes have accused the university of delaying the return of thousands of tribal artifacts and human remains held for research purposes for decades. In addition to the university purportedly not complying with legislation, many tribal members and outside observers state that treating human remains and cultural artifacts as scientific objects is disrespectful. As such, tribal members such as Mr. Macarro and anthropologist Myra Masiel are pressuring the university and other museums to comply with the established law.

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Mark Macarro

Mark Macarro — Champion of Pechanga Tribal Culture