Editorial: Repatriation respects Michigan tribes
"Sometimes the best way to preserve history and culture is to return to its origins.

That's what happened during the recent repatriation and reburial of American Indian remains at Old Indian Cemetery in Muskegon.

The remains of eight Woodland Indians were reburied at the sacred site after several years of effort on the part of the Lakeshore Museum Center working with representatives of a conglomerate of federally recognized Michigan tribes to repatriate the remains.

The centuries-old remains had been given to the museum several years after the museum was established in 1937. They have not been displayed during the 19-year tenure of director John McGarry

Working under the federal Repatriation Act, McGarry and his staff collaborated with archaeologists and tribal representatives. The collection of bones was determined to predate 1600, classifying them as "precontact" with Europeans. The remains were designated "culturally unidentifiable."

What all that means is that there was not a tribe to return the remains to. Still, the county museum, as the keeper of the cultural flame, wanted the remains to be reburied near where they had been discovered. The bones were unearthed by unknown individuals in Muskegon and Oceana counties."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Mending the fabric of life (The Muskegon Chronicle 7/14)