White, a world-renowned expert on human evolution, said the collection was passed down through generations of anthropology professors before he started teaching with it in the late 1970s. It came with no records, he said. Most were not labeled at all or said only “lab.”
But that simple description masked a dark history, UC Berkeley administrators recently acknowledged. UC Berkeley conducted an analysis of the collection after White reported its contents in response to a university systemwide order in 2020 to search for human remains
Despite decades of Indigenous activism and resistance, UC Berkeley has failed to return the remains of thousands of Native Americans to tribes. The university is still discovering more human remains in its collection.