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Burial of Ancestors

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  • Burial of Ancestors

    This question arose in my mind last year. I was at work one day and I overheard a man talking about having found Native artifacts. Immediately, it caught my attention. So, I started questioning him about where he found these items. It didn't dawn on me again until he came into the office again this year, so I questioned him a little more this time. I got a location of where he found these items and he told me on the banks of where the river used to run. He said there are of ton of artifacts there. Well, anyway didn't our ancestors used to be buried in areas such as this? If that's the case, these burial grounds are going unprotected. Is there anyway this location can be protected or is it too late? If it's not too late, is there any organization out there who does this? I just think someone needs to know this, because where I come from burial grounds are very sacred and shouldn't be tampered with. Even though this area is not where my ancestors are buried, I think something should be done about it.

  • #2

    The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was signed into law in November 1990 by President George Bush. It protects burial sites on federal and tribal lands and creates a process for repatriating cultural items, including artifacts and human remains, to native tribes. In November 1993, museums holding certain native american artifacts were required to prepare written summaries of their collections for distribution to culturally affiliated tribes. In November 1995, museums were required to prepare detailed inventories of their Native American collection.

    This man is possibly in violation of federal law and can be prosecuted. If you have a university near you that has a Native American studies department call them and ask for direction. If you have a BIA office in your area, call them. It's really dicey, when things are found on a riverbank, but companies and real archeologists know what the drill is. This guy sounds like somebody just off to make a few $$ at our expense. Turn him in, let the law deal with him if they will. But be prepared. The remains of the Kennewick Man, the Ancient One, found on the banks of the Snake (I believe) near Kennewick and the tri-cities Washington area, are still being pulled back and forth by tribes, archeologists and the government. That poor man will never rest...
    Last edited by River Spirit; 08-29-2004, 03:35 PM.
    "The Cleveland Indians are going to change their name. They don't want to be known as a team that perpetuates racial stereotypes. From now on they're just going to be called the Indians." - Native Comedian Vaughn Eaglebear, Colville/Lakota


    • #3
      Where are you located at? All along the banks of the MIssiissippi and Missouri rivers, was a once highly populated area during the misourian period... tribes that no longer that existed by time white man came... there are tons of artifacts washing up all the time along those banks with no one to repatriate them to. You would first have to verify what the timeline is on them.. I have a spearhead that is still sharp and it's from that time period. Also it would depend on what kind of artifacts you are talking about.. arrowheads are all over the place. But if it's bones or things of significance (like wampum , pottery or trade beads) then you might want to have it investigated because those kinds of objects were buried with the dead. If he has found them due to an unearthed mound I will tell you this and it breaks my heart to do so. The Mounds you find and report will 9 out of 10 times be cahokian and bones that old cannot be relocated or repatriated. There is nothing that protects them really. It is legal in some states to use those bones as filler in the concrete for building bridges and i kid you not about that.
      Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


      • #4
        Black Bear, that is so disturbing. We had an incident around here a few years ago where a body was found with aritfacts on the Monongahela River bank. He was found to belong to a tribe that no longer existed. The community handled it very well. Elders were called in and he was given a proper burial . The land around his grave is fenced in and no longer touched.


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