Sometimes repatriation occurs without NAGPRA. What happens when remains are found on lands that are not subject to NAGPRA, that are not on tribal or federal lands? The situation becomes much more complicated and it depends on state law, along with what the land owner wants to do. We had such a case last week here in northern Michigan, where remains were found and the tribe was immediately¬†notified. The town didn’t have to notify the tribe, but since this town is right smack dab in the middle of our rez, they did.

But the story doesn’t end there. These remains were found in front of where the old boarding school was in town. The church tore down the school in 2007, but the legacy of this boarding school carries on, not only with the people who went there, but with the children who passed away there. And that’s who we were recovering from the road construction that was occurring. My department and myself shot down there immediately, recovered who we could and laid them back to rest. When these situations arise, you drop everything and take care of business.

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