Native Americans Use Federal Law to Reclaim Remains of Ancestors

June 13, 2001

Source: Los Angeles Times

On June 13, 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported that "residents in Nulato [Alaska] are hoping to rebury the remains [of two children] in a village cemetery." Their bodies have been in a museum since 1948. "Such 'repatriations' of native artifacts and remains have become common in rural Alaska in recent years, the product of a 1990 federal law that gives tribes the right to reclaim the bodies of their ancestors from universities and other institutions." In Nulato, "the sense of community obligation is a strong one...'Our belief is that if the bodies are not buried, their spirit is roaming around and they're not at rest,'" explained one villager.