Native American remains returned to descendants - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Native American remains returned to descendants

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The skeletal remains of some Native Americans have been returned to their descendants.
 "All this, all the collection is something very sacred and very personal to us as a people," says Dwight Howue, Cultural Director. 

The remains date back to the 1700's and 1800's. They were discovered during construction projects in Platte, Knox and Butler counties.

300 funerary objects were also given back, like glass beads.

"It speaks well of our ancestry in Nebraska that Poncas are recognized and given this opportunity to repatriate the human remains of their ancestors," says Howue.

The transfer is being conducted by the Nebraska State Historical Society’s State Archeology Office and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska under the requirements of the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the Nebraska Unmarked Human Burial Sites and Skeletal Remains Protection Act.

When human skeletal remains and burial goods are discovered and law enforcement determines a crime is not involved, Nebraska State Historical Society Archeology staff will be contacted by the appropriate county attorney's office. Staff members are required to conduct an on-site investigation to determine the origin and identity of the remains and promptly relate the findings in writing to the county attorney and interested parties, who may include: a descendant Indian Tribe, a descendant family, or the Nebraska Indian Commission.

This specific repatriation is a joint project of the Nebraska State Historical Society, The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska. Tribal members of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska will reclaim and prepare the remains for transfer and reburial in the Ponca homeland along the lower Niobrara River.

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