Bureau of Land Management confirms repatriation of ancestor to Nevada tribe

Leaders of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, from left: Secretary Laura Ijames, Chairman Len George and council member Natalie Pacheco. Photo by FPST

A Bureau of Land Management official confirmed the agency's decision to return an ancestor to the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe.

The 10,000-year-old individual -- often referred to as the Spirit Cave Man -- has been the subject of a long-running Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act dispute. But an announcement on Tuesday put an end to the controversy.

“While the BLM could not determine that the human remains were culturally affiliated with a modern Indian tribe, DNA results show Native American heritage, making transfer to a tribe living on aboriginal lands near the cave appropriate under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act,” Director John Ruhs of the BLM Nevada State Office said in a statement to The Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The BLM is pleased that resolution for the disposition of these ancestors is nearing conclusion.”

The remains of Spirit Cave Man and other ancestors were discovered in 1940 on federal land not far from the present-day Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Reservation.

Read More on the Story:
Nevada tribe is apparent winner in dispute over Spirit Cave Man’s remains (The Las Vegas Review-Journal 10/21)

Federal Register Notices:
Notice of Inventory Completion: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Office, Reno, NV (October 18, 2016)
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee; Meetings (October 21, 2016)

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