The First Alabamians - CLOSED

The Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) is actively engaged in the process of returning human remains and funerary objects to federally recognized Native American tribes under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), a federal law enacted in 1990. Our agency is dedicated to the law’s ethical basis, to the spirit of collaboration with indigenous groups it fosters, and to the truthful, respectful telling of the histories of Native American societies.

On August 10, 2022, the ADAH announced the closing of The First Alabamians. Opened in 2011, the exhibition relied heavily on unassociated funerary objects (items removed from burials, but for which no human remains are held) to interpret the development of Native American society.

The ADAH plans to modify the exhibition by introducing artifacts that were not part of burials and by incorporating significant advances in archaeological study of indigenous cultures over the past decade. Most notably, the exhibit will newly introduce perspectives offered by numerous tribal groups and highlight the continued vibrancy of indigenous cultures originating from Alabama. Preliminary plans call for the revised exhibit to be open by 2026. The ADAH’s goal is to enter respectful partnerships with Native American tribes that will improve our ability to share Alabama’s rich native heritage.

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