Museum gives back artifacts to Native Americans

By Andy Fitzpatrick

Battle Creek Enquirer

Published: Saturday, Jan. 28 2012 8:10 a.m. MST

Nassaney said NAGPRA has resulted in attitudes changing over time regarding the final placement of Native American remains.

"In the past, archaeologists didn't have much to say to native people," Nassaney said. "Understandably, native people didn't want to talk to archaeologists because they were seen as grave robbers. Now those relationships are beginning to change, partly as a result of NAGPRA."

After an archaeological dig uncovers remains, Nassaney said the first step is to contact local police, a medical examiner or a state official, such as the Michigan Office of the State Archaeologist. Once it is determined that the remains are not from a person who has been missing, then the ethnicity must be determined through genetic work.

If they are from a native population, the search for the relevant tribe is made and it will determine what is to be done with the remains. Sometimes any handling of the remains is not permitted, resulting in them being reburied.

Still, some artifacts can be displayed, and Kingman is planning an exhibit featuring local Native American pieces of history.

Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com

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