Kara Briggs: Tribes wait to rebury ancestors
"The battle over the ancestral remains of Indian nations along the Columbia River didn’t begin or end with the famous Kennewick Man case.

Throughout the mid-20th century federal hydropower projects sliced the wild river into a series of slack water lakes. The prospect of flooding cemeteries set into motion the government-sponsored excavation of ancient and not-so-ancient cemeteries. It also set into play the natural sloughing of remains into a widened river channel, remains such as a 9,200-year-old known to tribes as the Ancient One.

Now four tribes – the Colville, Yakama, Umatilla and Nez Perce – are awaiting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determination about which, among hundreds of remains excavated in the 1960s at the Marmes Rockshelter site, will be released to them.

The Marmes site is located 60 miles east from where the Ancient One was found in 1996. Marmes represents 14,000 individual artifacts, among them human remains. Some are as old as the Ancient One and others are as recent as, literally, the parents and grandparents of today’s tribal elders.

At the winter conference of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the culture and elder committee held emotional meetings in which leaders from these and related tribes reflected on the pending Marmes decision, and on the famed case the tribes lost in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2004."

Get the Story:
Kara Briggs: Battle lines still drawn in the Ancient One’s case (Indian Country Today 3/18)

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