Environment | Law | National

Mary Annette Pember: Ex-official admits to theft of ancestors

A view of Big Bear Mound at the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa. Photo by Archbob / GoodFreePhotos

Independent journalist Mary Annette Pember follows up on the theft of ancestral remains by the ex-superintendent of the Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa:
Thomas Munson, 76, of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin will plead guilty to embezzlement and theft charges in connection with an accusation that he stole several ancient Native American remains from the Effigy Mound Monument federal museum in Iowa. Munson, former National Parks Service superintendent of the Effigy Mounds National Monument, was charged in federal court in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with one count of misdemeanor embezzlement and theft on December 16, 2015. He was released without bond and is expected to enter into a plea agreement with federal authorities during a hearing set for January 4, 2016 in Cedar Rapids.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Iowa, Munson is charged with knowingly, between July 16, 1990 and May 17, 2012, concealing human remains in the possession of the United States.

Munson told authorities that he took the remains from the museum, including fragments of teeth, skeletons, jaws and leg bones and kept them in the garage of his home in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin for over 20 years according to a report by the Associated Press on December 10, 2015. The remains are thought to be between 500 to 2,000 years old and were discovered at the Monument in the 1950s.

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: National Park Services Grave Robber: Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Remains (Indian Country Today 12/21)

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