Indian remains reburied near White Shield

White Shield, North Dakota (AP) 4-08

The State Historic Preservation office has turned over the remains of about a dozen American Indians to the Three Affiliated Tribes for reburial.

Tribal officials said the remains, which could be centuries old, were slated to be reburied near White Shield, on the Forth Berthold Reservation.

Fern Swenson, director of historic preservation for the Historical Society, said her group had been holding the remains for several months at the request of tribal officials.

The remains were turned over to state officials by sheriffs departments and “private individuals who did not feel good about having those anymore,” Swenson said.

The remains, which consisted of two skulls, two jaw bones and several bone fragments, were found at 11 sites in North Dakota, and were either exposed from erosion or dug up, Swenson said. No complete skeletons were found but the each of the bone fragments belonged to separate individuals, she said.

Remains found in McLean County were studied by a forensic anthropologist who determined “the cause of death was not related to a homicide,” Swenson said.

Two families from Kansas and Idaho also turned over remains to state officials, Swenson said. She did not know how the people in those states acquired the remains from North Dakota, but said they may have been in their families for years.

“They just felt like it was inappropriate to have those,” Swenson said.

Perry Brady, the historic preservation officer for the Three Affiliated Tribes, said he has been working on the return of Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara remains since becoming historic preservation officer last year.

He said the burial of the remains would be conducted by the Traditional Cultural Authorities, a group consisting of 18 people, six from each tribe.

Brady said he is working on the return of other remains found by archaeologists.

“I’m bringing them back to their homeland,” he said.