FR Doc E9-29289[Federal Register: December 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 235)]
[Notices]               
[Page 65138-65139]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr09de09-76]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service
 
Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: Amherst College 
Museum of Natural History, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

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 cultural items in the possession of the Amherst College 
Museum of Natural History (formerly Pratt Museum of Natural History), 
Amherst College, Amherst, MA, that meet the definition of 
"unassociated funerary objects" under 25 U.S.C. 3001.

[[Page 65139]]

    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 
items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the 
determinations in this notice.
    Between July 2 and July 27, 1909, cultural items were excavated 
from coastal shell middens on Sawyer's Island, Lincoln County, ME, by 
Professor F.B. Loomis. A document in the Amherst College Archives, 
Pratt Museum Papers, titled "Field Record of Specimens from 'Sawyer's 
Island First Digging,' a Paleo-Indian Site", gives the provenience for 
the materials he collected. This document shows that, among many other 
faunal and cultural objects, Loomis found one human jaw with five 
teeth. This jaw is no longer in the possession of the Amherst College 
Museum of Natural History; the date and circumstances under which these 
partial human remains left the museum collections are unknown. The 69 
cultural items in this notice may have been associated with the now 
missing human remains. It is not known whether the cultural items come 
from the same burial or the same site as the partial human remains; 
only that all of the cultural items come from Sawyer's Island middens 
and were excavated in the same month. Consultation with the Wabanaki 
Intertribal Repatriation Committee, a non-Federally recognized Indian 
group, which represents the Federally-recognized Aroostook Band of 
Micmac Indians of Maine, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine, 
Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, and Penobscot Tribe of Maine, indicates 
that they consider the objects could have been funerary, and therefore, 
are unassociated funerary objects as defined by 25 U.S.C. 3001. The 69 
unassociated funerary objects are 31 bone awls, 11 bone tools, 9 horn 
tools, 6 stone tools, 6 stone arrow or spear heads, 3 celts, 1 stone 
amulet, 1 tooth pendant, and 1 bone harpoon point.
    Loomis interpreted the material collected on Sawyer's Island to be 
Algonquin and the people of the middens to be related to the present-
day Abnakis of Maine, (see Loomis & Young, American Journal of Science, 
v. 34, p. 41). Loomis concluded that the middens were built between 200 
to 400 years prior to European contact, A.D. 1627, (see Loomis, 
American Journal of Science, v. 31, p. 227). According to Dr. John 
Stubbs, Jr., Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, the presence 
of pottery fragments found within the Sawyer's Island midden suggests 
the human remains and cultural items are most likely less than 2,700 
years old. The Federally-recognized Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of 
Maine, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine, Passamaquoddy Tribe 
of Maine, and Penobscot Tribe of Maine, represented by the Wabanaki 
Intertribal Repatriation Committee, a non-Federally recognized Indian 
group, are widely recognized as having a shared cultural relationship 
with the people of the Ceramic Period of Maine (2,000 B.P. to European 
contact).
    Officials of the Amherst College Museum of Natural History have 
determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(B), the 69 cultural 
items described above are 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 are believed, by a preponderance of 
the evidence, to have been removed from a specific burial site of a 
Native American individual. Officials of the Amherst College Museum of 
Natural History 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 objects and the 
Federally-recognized Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine, Houlton 
Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine, Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, and 
Penobscot Tribe of Maine, which are represented by the Wabanaki 
Intertribal Repatriation Committee, a non-Federally recognized Indian 
group.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the unassociated funerary objects should 
contact Tekla A. Harms, Repatriation Coordinator & Professor of 
Geology, Department of Geology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002, 
telephone (413) 542-2711, before January 8, 2010. Repatriation of the 
unassociated funerary objects to the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians 
of Maine, Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians of Maine, Passamaquoddy 
Tribe of Maine, and Penobscot Tribe of Maine may proceed after that 
date if no additional claimants come forward.
    The Amherst College Museum of Natural History is responsible for 
notifying the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians of Maine, Houlton Band 
of Maliseet Indians of Maine, Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, and 
Penobscot Tribe of Maine that this notice has been published.

    Dated: November 9, 2009.
David Tarler,
Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E9-29289 Filed 12-8-09; 8:45 am]

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