Remains long held in museum to be returned to Michigan Native American tribe

Michigan Live
Benjamin Raven, September 15, 2016

Native American remains long held in a museum since the late 1950s or early 1960s will return home to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. 

An official with the Michigan-based tribe told the Associated Press the remains will be "ceremoniously reburied." Marcus Winchester, a Pokagon official, told A.P. the tribe is committed to "restoring the reverence owed to Native American ancestors."

The Potawatomi operate in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, as its governing body operates out of Dowagiac. 

The delivery of the bones and "funerary objects" was approved Tuesday, Sept. 13 by the Lake County Forest Preserve District Board, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, of Illinois, reports.

The remains and artifacts, which belonged to 34 people, had been in a protective storage unit at the museum, the Daily Herald reports. These items had been in storage since 1990 when the United States adopted the law requiring federally-funded agencies to return any Native American cultural items.

Officials had reportedly been working for years to find the remains' rightful home.

The Discovery Museum still has at least another 11 items, but have not been able to nail down who the belong to. The Daily Herald reports they are negotiating the transfer of the remaining items to the Michigan-based  Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians. 

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