FR Doc E9-4668[Federal Register: March 4, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 41)]
[Notices]               
[Page 9427-9428]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr04mr09-69]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

 
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review 
Committee Findings and Recommendations Regarding Cultural Items in the 
Possession of the New York State Museum

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review 
Committee: Findings and Recommendations.

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    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative

[[Page 9428]]

responsibilities pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and 
Repatriation Act (25 U.S.C. 3006 (g)). The findings of fact and 
recommendations to the disputing parties do not necessarily represent 
the views of the National Park Service or the Secretary of the 
Interior.
SUMMARY: 
    The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review 
Committee (Review Committee) was established by Section 8 of the Native 
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA; 25 U.S.C. 
3006) and is an advisory body governed by the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act (5 App. U.S.C. 1-16). At its October 11-12, 2008 public 
meeting in San Diego, CA, the Review Committee, acting pursuant to its 
responsibilities to convene the parties to a dispute, review the 
information provided by the parties, and make findings of fact and 
recommendations relating to the cultural affiliation of the human 
remains in an inventory, heard a dispute between the Onondaga Nation 
and the New York State Museum. The issue before the Review Committee 
was whether the relevant information presented by the Onondaga Nation 
shows that, more likely than not, a relationship of shared group 
identity reasonably can be traced between the Onondaga Nation and human 
remains representing a minimum of 180 individuals which had been 
removed from the ``Engelbert Site,'' also known as NYSM Site 
171, in Nichols, Tioga County, New York and which are in the 
possession and under the control of the New York State Museum. The 
Review Committee found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a 
relationship of shared group identity reasonably can be traced between 
the present-day Onondaga Nation and the human remains from the 
Engelbert Site.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In 1998, the New York State Museum (the 
Museum) completed an ``Inventory of Native American Human Remains from 
the Engelbert Site, Tioga County, New York (NYSM Site 171), in 
the Possession of the New York State Museum'' (the inventory). The 
Native American human remains were excavated and removed from the 
Engelbert Site in 1967 and 1968, as a result of the construction of the 
Southern Tier Expressway (New York State Route 17). The Museum had 
acquired the human remains in question in 1989. The Museum determined 
that all the human remains in the inventory were culturally 
unidentifiable.
    In 2007, the Onondaga Nation (the Nation) presented to the Museum 
information relevant to showing cultural affiliation between the Nation 
and the human remains in question, and requested that the Museum 
repatriate the human remains listed in the inventory to the Nation. In 
response, the Museum refused to repatriate the human remains in the 
inventory to the Nation, asserting that the Nation had not shown 
cultural affiliation by a preponderance of the evidence.
    Disputing the decision of the Museum, the Nation asked the Review 
Committee to facilitate the dispute between the Nation and the Museum. 
The Review Committee Chair agreed to the Nation's request.
    At its October 11-12, 2008 meeting, the Review Committee considered 
the dispute between the Nation and the Museum. The sole issue of 
material fact between the parties was whether the relevant information 
provided by the Onondaga Nation showed, by a preponderance of the 
evidence, cultural affiliation between the human remains listed in the 
inventory and the Nation on the basis of geographical, kinship, 
biological, archeological, anthropological, linguistic, folkloric, oral 
traditional, historical, or other relevant information or expert 
opinion.
    FINDINGS OF FACT: By a vote of five to one - six members, 
comprising a quorum, were present -- the Review Committee found that 
the preponderance of the evidence shows a relationship of shared group 
identity between the Onondaga Nation (and the greater Haudenosaunee 
Confederacy, of which the Nation is a member-nation) and the remains of 
the 180 Native American individuals in the Engelbert Site inventory.
    RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE DISPUTING PARTIES: By a vote of five to one 
[macr] six members, comprising a quorum, were present -- the Review 
Committee recommended that, consistent with the NAGPRA criteria, the 
New York State Museum expeditiously repatriate the remains of the 180 
Native American individuals in the Engelbert Site inventory to the 
Onondaga Nation. In addition, by a unanimous vote [macr] six members, 
comprising a quorum, were present -- the Review Committee recommended 
that the New York State Museum reevaluate the cultural affiliation of 
all the Native American human remains in its possession, or under its 
control, which, on the basis of their age, the Museum hitherto had 
determined to be ``culturally unidentifiable'' and that, in doing so, 
the Museum use the preponderance of all the available, relevant 
evidence as the standard for deciding cultural affiliation or lack 
thereof.


    Dated: February 27, 2009
Rosita Worl
Chair, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review 
Committee
[FR Doc. E9-4668 Filed 3-3-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4312-50-S

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