SALEM, Mass. — A theological college is transferring ownership of its collection of Native American artifacts to the Massachusetts museum that has housed them for decades amid an ongoing effort to return some of items to the tribes linked with them.

Andover Newton Theological School said Thursday that the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem will take on responsibility for complying with a federal law aimed at returning cultural items to descendants of Native American and Native Hawaiian tribes. The school says it has already begun repatriation efforts after being warned it may have violated the law.

The school, which in the midst of a move from a campus outside Boston to Yale Divinity School, says it is not properly equipped to care for and display the collection.

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