[Federal Register: May 12, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 91)]
[Notices]               
[Page 26785-26786]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr12my10-87]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

 
Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: U.S. Department 
of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Walla Walla, 
WA and Museum of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent 
to repatriate a cultural item in the possession of the U.S. Department 
of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Walla Walla, 
WA, and Museum of Anthropology, Washington State University, Pullman, 
WA, that meets the definition of ``unassociated funerary object'' under 
25 U.S.C. 3001.
    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The 
determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the 
museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the cultural 
item. The National Park Service is not responsible for the 
determinations in this notice.
    In 1968, an unassociated funerary object was removed from the 
floodplain area of site 45FR50, Marmes Rockshelter, in Franklin County, 
WA, during excavations conducted by Washington State University under 
contract with the Army Corps of Engineers. The object is an articulated 
owl foot, originally found between two modified stone flakes, in the 
Marmes Windust Phase stratum at the site (11,000-8,000 BP). The object 
- the owl foot bones and two modified chert or chalcedony flakes - was 
accessioned by Washington State University under inventory number 5780.
    Site 45FR50 consists of a rockshelter and sloping floodplain area 
in front of the rockshelter proper. The archeological materials at site 
45FR50 have been variously classified into chronological and cultural 
phases, and include the Windust Phase (+11,000-8000 BP), Cascade Phase 
(8000-4500 BP), Tucannon Phase (4500-2500 BP), and Harder Phase (2500-
500 BP). The floodplain deposits date from the earliest period, or the 
Windust Phase.
    Human remains representing a minimum of four individuals and 
associated funerary objects were excavated from the floodplain 
deposits. The associated funerary objects included 23 pieces of faunal 
material directly associated with the human remains, and four bone rods 
found with a specific individual identified at the time of excavation 
as Marmes I. Other cultural items excavated from the earliest deposit 
(Windust Phase) include stone tools and lithic debitage, worked and 
unworked faunal bone, and possibly some red ochre. The owl foot object 
(consisting of the owl foot bones and two modified flakes) was 
excavated from the Windust Phase stratum, but was not found in direct 
association with any human remains. However, owls are important in 
southern Plateau Native American culture as ceremonial symbols, and 
items such as the owl foot object are still used as funerary items in 
Yakama and Nez Perce burials. Owl parts were often buried with medicine

[[Page 26786]]

men because they were thought to be too powerful for anyone else to 
possess. Therefore, officials of the U.S. Department of Defense, Army 
Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, reasonably believe the object 
is an unassociated funerary object.
    Archeological evidence provides the most direct line of evidence 
supporting affiliation between an earlier group and a present-day 
Indian tribe. The evidence found at site 45FR50, and in nearby 
archeological sites, supports a nearly continuous occupation of this 
region of the Columbia Plateau beginning as far back as 11,500 years. 
The archeological assemblage of site 45FR50 represents a long sequence 
of cultural occupation. Archeological and geological connections at the 
site can be drawn both horizontally across the site, from the 
rockshelter to the floodplain and across the floodplain, and also 
vertically, from the earlier deposits to the later deposits. Cultural 
continuity from the earliest to latest occupations within the site can 
be traced through the changes in the use of subsistence resources 
(marine and other) and the gradual changes in lithic assemblages. 
Additionally, the presence of the articulated owl foot object provides 
further support for cultural affiliation. The owl image is commonly 
seen in petroglyphs and on stone objects in the region. The Sahaptin 
languages have words for owls, and ``owl'' appears in the names of 
individuals (for example, there is a Maynard White Owl Lavadour of the 
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation). The owl is a 
primary character in many Nez Perce Coyote stories, and is often 
characterized as having superior abilities. Cultural practices of 
historic Native groups in the region include owl dances.
    Geographical and anthropological lines of evidence support the 
archeological evidence of earlier group habitation in the same 
geographic location as the historic groups. Anthropologically, evidence 
for continuity includes the presence of red ochre and olivella shells 
in the earliest Windust Phase deposits, continuing into later deposits 
and found in the later burials. Finally, oral tradition evidence 
provided by tribal elders indicates a large Palus village, which had 
been inhabited by tribal ancestors from time immemorial, was once 
located near the Marmes Rockshelter, site 45FR50. According to tribal 
elders, their ancestors were mobile and traveled the landscape to 
gather resources, as well as to trade.
    Ethnographic documentation indicates that the present-day location 
of the Marmes Rockshelter in Franklin County, WA, is within the 
territory occupied historically by the Palus (Palouse) Indians. During 
the historic period, the Palouse people settled along the Snake River; 
relied on fish, game, and root resources for subsistence; shared their 
resource areas and maintained extensive kinship connections with other 
groups in the area; and had limited political integration until the 
adoption of the horse (Walker 1998). These characteristics are common 
to the greater Plateau cultural communities surrounding the Palouse 
territory including the Nez Perce, Cayuse, Walla Walla, Yakama, and 
Wanapum groups. Moreover, information provided during consultation by 
representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, 
Washington; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, 
Oregon; Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington; 
Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho; and the Wanapum Band, a non-Federally 
recognized Indian group, substantiate shared past and present 
traditional lifeways that bind the aforementioned Indian tribes and the 
Wanapum Band to common ancestors. The descendants of these Plateau 
communities of southeastern Washington are now widely dispersed and are 
members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, 
Washington; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, 
Oregon; Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Washington; 
Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho; and the Wanapum Band, a non-Federally 
recognized Indian group.
    Officials of the U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of 
Engineers, Walla Walla District, have determined that, pursuant to 25 
U.S.C. 3001(3)(B), the one cultural item described above is reasonably 
believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at 
the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony and is 
believed, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have been removed from 
a specific burial site of an Native American individual. Officials of 
the U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla 
District, also have determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), 
there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably 
traced between the unassociated funerary object and the Confederated 
Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington; Confederated Tribes of 
the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon; Confederated Tribes and Bands 
of the Yakama Nation, Washington; and the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho. 
Furthermore, officials of the U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of 
Engineers, Walla Walla District, have determined that there is a 
cultural relationship between the unassociated funerary object and the 
Wanapum Band, a non-Federally recognized Indian group.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes their tribe 
is culturally affiliated with the unassociated funerary object should 
contact LTC Michael Farrell, U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of 
Engineers, Walla Walla District, 201 North Third Ave., Walla Walla, WA 
99362-1876, telephone (509) 527-7700, before June 11, 2010. 
Repatriation of the unassociated funerary objects to the Confederated 
Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington; Confederated Tribes of 
the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon; Confederated Tribes and Bands 
of the Yakama Nation, Washington; and Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho, may 
proceed after that date if no additional claimants come forward. The 
U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla 
District, recognizes the participation of the Wanapum Band, a non-
Federally recognized Indian group, during the transfer of the cultural 
item to the Indian tribes.
    The U.S. Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers, Walla 
Walla District, is responsible for notifying the Confederated Tribes of 
the Colville Reservation, Washington; Confederated Tribes of the 
Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon; Confederated Tribes and Bands of 
the Yakama Nation, Washington; Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho; and the Wanapum 
Band, a non-Federally recognized Indian group, that this notice has 
been published.

    Dated: May 4, 2010
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. 2010-11352 Filed 5-11-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-50-S




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