Introducing: Jessica Yann, NAGPRA Program Manager

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to introduce the new NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) Program Manager, MSU Anthropology alum Jessica Yann, who began this role in August 2021. Although the role is based in the Office of the Associate Provost for University Collections and Art Initiatives, Jessica also continues to work with the archaeology collections and teach through the Department of Anthropology.

This position is designed to create and take a proactive approach to NAGPRA compliance and outreach, including creating a strategic plan for effectively implementing NAGPRA work. This includes auditing collections for potentially NAGPRA eligible ancestors or objects, writing grants to facilitate collections research, management, and outreach with Tribal communities, facilitating consultations, creating draft Inventories and Summaries in collaboration with Tribal partners, facilitating respectful repatriations and returns, curating the NAGPRA collections, and ensuring that MSU stewards all collections according to the policies and procedures in the MSU NAGPRA and MSU Collections Policies.

Jessica started at MSU as a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, completing her PhD degree in 2019. She took over as the NAGPRA Assistant in March of 2019 and continued in that capacity until beginning her current role in August. Prior to Jessica’s position as the NAGPRA Assistant, she worked with the State Archaeologist in the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office for 9.5 years, an experience that Jessica credits with having been incredibly helpful in her new role as Program Manager.

Jessica notes that she is excited to continue to consult and collaborate with all the Tribes that are connected to Michigan as she helps continue the journey towards repatriation and rematriation, stating “I’m honored by the privilege of assisting them in this work, and thankful for the trust they have placed in me.”

In her free time, Jessica enjoys dabbling in arts and crafts, trying crazy new recipes, and running. We look forward to all the amazing work Jessica will do in her new role!