California Public Resources Code 5097.9
§ 5097.9 – Interference with Native American religion or damage to cemeteries or places of worship, etc., prohibited; construction and exemptions from law.
No public agency, and no private party using or occupying public property, or operating on public property, under a public license, permit, grant, lease, or contract made on or after July 1, 1977, shall in any manner whatsoever interfere with the free expression or exercise of Native American religion as provided in the United States Constitution and the California Constitution; nor shall any such agency or party cause severe or irreparable damage to any Native American sanctified cemetery, place of worship, religious or ceremonial site, or sacred shrine located on public property, except on a clear and convincing showing that the public interest and necessity so require. The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the commission, pursuant to Sections 5097.94 and 5097.97.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be construed to limit the requirements of the Environmental Quality Act of 1970, Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000).
The public property of all cities, counties, and city and county located within the limits of the city, county, and city and county, except for all parklands in excess of 100 acres, shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.’ Nothing in this section shall, however, nullify protections for Indian cemeteries under other statutes.
§ 5097.91 – Native American Heritage Commission
There is in state government a Native American Heritage Commission, consisting of nine members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.
§ 5097.92 – Membership; qualifications
At least five of the nine members shall be elders, traditional people, or spiritual leaders of California Native American tribes, nominated by Native American organizations, tribes, or groups within the state. The executive secretary of the commission shall be appointed by the Governor.
§ 5097.93 – Compensation and expenses
The members of the commission shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed their actual and necessary expenses.
§ 5097.94 – Powers and duties
The commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To identify and catalog places of special religious or social significance to Native Americans, and known graves and cemeteries of Native Americans on private lands. The identification and cataloguing of known graves and cemeteries shall be completed on or before January 1, 1984. The commission shall notify landowners on whose property such graves and cemeteries are determined to exist, and shall identify the Native American group most likely descended from those Native Americans who may be interred on the property.
(b) To make recommendations relative to Native American sacred places that are located on private lands, are inaccessible to Native Americans, and have cultural significance to Native Americans for acquisition by the state or other public agencies for the purpose of facilitating or assuring access thereto by Native Americans.
(c) To make recommendations to the Legislature relative to procedures which will voluntarily encourage private property owners to preserve and protect sacred places in a natural state and to allow appropriate access to Native American religionists for ceremonial or spiritual activities.
(d) To appoint necessary clerical staff.
(e) To accept grants or donations, real or in kind, to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(f) To make recommendations to the Director of Parks and Recreation and the California Arts Council relative to the California State Indian Museum and other Indian matters touched upon by department programs.
(g) To bring an action to prevent severe and irreparable damage to, or assure appropriate access for Native Americans to, a Native American sanctified cemetery, place of worship, religious or ceremonial site, or sacred shrine located on public property, pursuant to Section 5097.97. If the court finds that severe and irreparable damage will occur or that appropriate access will be denied, and appropriate mitigation measures are not available, it shall issue an injunction, unless it finds, on clear and convincing evidence, that the public interest and necessity require otherwise. The Attorney General shall represent the commission and the state in litigation concerning affairs of the commission, unless the Attorney General has determined to represent the agency against whom the commission’s action is directed, in which case the commission shall be authorized to employ other counsel. In any action to enforce the provisions of this subdivision the commission shall introduce evidence showing that such cemetery, place, site, or shrine has been historically regarded as a sacred or sanctified place by Native American people and represents a place of unique historical and cultural significance to an Indian tribe or community.
(h) To request and utilize the advice and service of all federal, state, local, and regional agencies.
(i) To assist Native Americans in obtaining appropriate access to sacred places that are located on public lands for ceremonial or spiritual activities.
(j) To assist state agencies in any negotiations with agencies of the federal government for the protection of Native American sacred places that are located on federal lands.
(k) To mediate, upon application of either of the parties, disputes arising between landowners and known descendents relating to the treatment and disposition of Native American human burials, skeletal remains, and items associated with Native American burials.
The agreements shall provide protection to Native American human burials and skeletal remains from vandalism and inadvertent destruction and provide for sensitive treatment and disposition of Native American burials, skeletal remains, and associated grave goods consistent with the planned use of, or the approved project on, the land.
(1) To assist interested landowners in developing agreements with appropriate Native American groups for treating or disposing, with appropriate dignity, of the human remains and any items associated with Native American burials.
§ 5097.95 – Cooperation of state and local agencies
Each state and local agency shall cooperate with the commission in carrying out its duties under this chapter. Such cooperation shall include, but is not limited to, transmitting copies, at the commission’s expense, of appropriate sections of all environmental impact reports relating to property identified by the commission as of special religious significance to Native Americans or which is reasonably foreseeable as such property.
§ 5097.96 – Inventory of sacred places; legislative report
The commission may prepare an inventory of Native American sacred places that are located on public lands and shall review the current administrative and statutory protections accorded to such places. The commission shall submit a report to the Legislature no later than January 1, 1979, in which the commission shall report its findings as a result of these efforts and shall recommend such actions as the commission deems necessary to preserve these sacred places and to protect the free exercise of the Native American religions.
§ 5097.97 – Investigations; hearings; recommendations; legal actions
In the event that any Native American organization, tribe, group, or individual advises the commission that a proposed action by a public agency may cause severe or irreparable damage to a Native American sanctified cemetery, place of worship, religious or ceremonial site, or sacred shrine located on public property, or may bar appropriate access thereto by Native Americans, the commission shall conduct an investigation as to the effect of the proposed action. Where the commission finds, after a public hearing, that the proposed action would result in such damage or interference, the commission may recommend mitigation measures for consideration by the public agency proposing to take such action. If the public agency fails to accept the mitigation measures, and if the commission finds that the proposed action would do severe and irreparable damage to a Native American sanctified cemetery, place of worship, religious or ceremonial site, or sacred shrine located on public property, the commission may ask the Attorney General to take appropriate legal action pursuant to subdivision (g) of Section 5097.94.
§ 5097.98 – Notification of discovery of Native American human remains, descendants; disposition of human remains and associated grave goods
(a) Whenever the commission receives notification of a discovery of Native American human remains from a county coroner pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7050.5 of the Health and Safety Code, it shall immediately notify those persons it believes to be most likely descended from the deceased Native American. The descendents may, with the permission of the owner of the land, or his or her authorized representative, inspect the site of the discovery of the Native American remains and may recommend to the owner or the person responsible for the excavation work means for treating or disposing, with appropriate dignity, the human remains and any associated grave goods. The descendents shall complete their inspection and make their recommendation within 48 hours of their notification by the Native American Heritage Commission. The recommendation may include the scientific removal and nondestructive analysis of human remains and items associated with Native American burials.
(b) Upon the discovery of the Native American remains, the landowner shall ensure that the immediate vicinity, according to generally accepted cultural or archaeological standards or practices, where the Native American human remains are located, is not damaged or disturbed by further development activity until the landowner has discussed and conferred, as prescribed in this section, with the most likely descendants regarding their recommendations, if applicable, taking into account the possibility of multiple human remains. The landowner shall discuss and confer with the descendants all reasonable options regarding the descendants’ preferences for treatment.
(1) The descendants preferences for treatment may include the following:
(A) The nondestructive removal and analysis of human remains and items associated with Native American human remains.
(B) Preservation of Native American human remains and associated items in place.
(C) Relinquishment of Native American human remains and associated items to the descendants for treatment.
(D) Other culturally appropriate treatment.
(2) The parties may also mutually agree to extend discussions, taking into account the possibility that additional or multiple Native American human remains, as defined in this section, are located in the project area providing a basis for additional treatment measures.
(c) For the purposes of this section, “conferral” or “discuss and confer” means the meaningful and timely discussion and careful consideration of the views of each party, in a manner that is cognizant of all parties’ cultural values, and where feasible, seeking agreement. Each party shall recognize the other’s needs and concerns for confidentiality of information provided to the other.
(1) Human remains of a Native American may be an inhumation or cremation, and in any state of decomposition or skeletal completeness.
(2) Any items associated with human remains that are placed or buried with Native American human remains are to be treated in the same manner as the remains, but do not by themselves constitute human remains.
(e) Whenever the commission is unable to identify a descendant, or the descendants identified fail to make a recommendation, or the landowner or his or her authorized representative rejects the recommendation of the descendents and the mediation provided for in subdivision (k) of section 5097.94. if invoked, fails to provide measures acceptable to the landowner, the landowner or his or her authorized representative shall inter the human remains and items associated with Native American human remains with appropriate dignity on the property in a location not subject to further and future subsurface disturbance. To protect these sites, that landowner shall do one or more of the following:
(1) Record the site with the commission or the appropriate Information Center.
(2) Utilize an open-space or conservation zoning designation or easement.
(3) Record a document with the county in which the property is located.
(f) Upon the discovery of multiple Native American human remains during a ground disturbing land development activity, the landowner may agree that additional conferral with descendants is necessary to consider culturally appropriate treatment of multiple Native American human remains. Culturally appropriate treatment of such a discovery may be ascertained from review of the site utilizing cultural and archaeological standards. Where the parties are unable to agree on the appropriate treatment measures the human remains and buried with Native American human remains shall be reinterred with appropriate dignity, pursuant to subdivision (e).
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5097.9, this section, including those actions taken by the landowner or his or her authorized representative to implement this section and any action taken to implement an agreement developed pursuant to subdivision (1) of Section 5097.94 shall be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000))
(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 30244. this section, includes those actions taken by the landowner or his or her authorized representative to implement this section, and any action taken to implement an agreement developed pursuant to subdivision (1) of Section 5097.94 shall be exempt from the requirements of the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000)).
§ 5097.99. Obtaining or possessing Native American artifacts or human remains taken from grave or cairn on or after January 1, 1984; prohibition
(a) No person shall obtain or possess any Native American artifacts or human remains which are taken from a Native American grave or cairn on or after January 1, 1984, except as otherwise provided by law or in accordance with an agreement reached pursuant to subdivision (l) of Section 5097.94 or pursuant to Section 5097.98.
(b) Any person who knowingly or willfully obtains or possesses any Native American artifacts or human remains which are taken from a Native American grave or cairn after January 1, 1988, except as otherwise provided by law or in accordance with an agreement reached pursuant to subdivision (l) of Section 5097.94 or pursuant to Section 5097.98, is guilty of a felony which is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.
(c) Any person who removes, without authority of law, any Native American artifacts or human remains from a Native American grave or cairn with an intent to sell or dissect or with malice or wantonness is guilty of a felony which is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison.
§ 5097.991 Policy of the State that Native American Remains and Associated Grave Artifacts Shall be Repatriated
It is the policy of the state that Native American remains and associated grave artifacts shall be repatriated.