Arts & Culture
4:17 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A final resting place for the remains of dozens of Native Americans

The remains of dozens of Native Americans were buried during a special ceremony near Mt. Pleasant today.    

The remains had until recently been held by the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

Several women shook small rattles as a long line of men and women carried small cardboard boxes containing the remains of 129 Native Americans to a small snow-covered cemetery.    The cemetery has become the final resting place for many Native Americans whose remains were used in research. 

Shannon Martin is the director of the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant.   She says there are still tens of thousands of remains being held in museum and university collections.

“What we do not know is the number of remains that were shipped overseas and are in foreign institutions or in the hands of private collectors and private collections,” says Martin, ““Thinking about being a middle aged woman,  in my lifetime…the work will probably not be completed  to return ancestors from various places.”

Since the passage of a federal law in 1990, the remains of more than ten thousand Native Americans have been returned to tribes in the United States.