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Our Mission

PROTECT NATIVE CULTURE™!

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Welcome to the California Native American Heritage Commission License Plate Website! Revenue from the plate, known as the “Protect Native Culture” ™ plate, will support programs of the California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) that preserve and protect California Native American cultural resources such as Native American ceremonial sites, ancient Native American burials, Native American artifacts or human remains taken from Native American graves, and Native American historic and sacred sites, among other Native American cultural resources. The Protect Native Culture™ Plate will also fund implementation of the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (CalNAGPRA), which provides a legal process for California Native American tribes to secure the return of the human remains of their ancestors held by California universities, museums, and government agencies for scientific study or other purposes.

California Native Americans have living, vibrant cultures rooted in a very rich and lengthy past that predates the existence of California and the United States. California has 165 Native American tribes, more than any other state other than Alaska. Native Americans trace their presence in California as far back as 13,000 years.[1] Their sacred sites, ancient sanctified cemeteries, ceremonial sites, and cultural artifacts in California – “cultural resources” – also date back thousands of years and are still part of today’s California Native American cultures. When you subscribe[2] to the Protect Native Culture™ Plate, your license plate fees help the NAHC enforce state laws that preserve and protect what remains of these California Native American cultural resources, provide training to tribes, government agencies, and college and law students on how to protect California Native American cultural resources under state law, implement CalNAGPRA, and more. Fees received after initial program costs paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles will fund:

  • Implementation of the California Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (CalNAGPRA), to return the remains of ancient Native American ancestors to their tribes of origin;
  • Legal clinics and internship programs to train college and law students on laws protecting California Native American cultural resources;
  • Training programs for California Native American tribes and government agencies on laws protecting California Native American cultural resources;
  • An NAHC Legal Defense Fund to enforce state laws protecting Native American cultural resources when the California Department of Justice cannot represent the NAHC due to a conflict of interest;
  • Land conservancy purchases to protect Native American cultural resources; and
  • License Plate Program ongoing administration costs.

Native American cultural resources, once lost, cannot be replaced. When you subscribe to the California Native American Heritage Commission License Plate, you Protect Native Culture. ™


[1] Cite
[2] Initial plate subscription fee = $50; annual renewal subscription fee = $40.