Skip top nav and go to the page contentSkip top nav and go to the left navigation
Repatriation Office
 
Department of Anthropology  
Repatriation Office - Department of Anthropology
Home | What is Repatriation? | Consultation & Repatriation | Collections | Repatriation Reports | FAQ | Contact
Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary
Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects from the Post-contact Period in Barrow, Alaska
in the
National Museum of Natural History
Region: Alaska
Associated Cultures: Inupiat, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
, Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, Native Village of Barrow
1996
In compliance with the repatriation provisions of Public Law 101-185 (20 U.S.C. Section 80q), the National Museum of the American Indian Act, this report provides a partial inventory and assessment of cultural affiliation of the human remains and funerary objects in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) dating to the last several centuries from the Point Barrow region.

Remains of a minimum of 125 individuals, represented by 100 catalogue numbers, in the Physical Anthropology Division of the Anthropology Department of the NMNH were identified as having come from historic cemeteries near Barrow dating to the 18-20th centuries. A total of 90 sets of remains, represented by 65 catkeys, come from the cemetery of Nixeruk, associated with the community of Nuwuk. Nuwuk is located northeast of Barrow along the Arctic Ocean. A total of 33 sets of remains, represented by an equal number of catkeys, come from the cemetery associated with the community of Barrow, formerly known as Utkiavik. An additional two sets of remains in the NMNH were found in the remains of a house dated to post-1750 in Utkiavik. This report pertains only to those 18-20th century remains which have been thoroughly examined by the Repatriation Office Physical Anthropology Laboratory.

Documentation of these remains from this region was initiated in June 1994 in response to a claim from Ms. Jana Harcharek, Liaison Officer, Inupiat History, Language and Culture Commission, North Slope Borough Planning Department, for the return of any culturally affiliated remains from Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. This claim, submitted in August 1993, specified the return of any culturally affiliated remains from the geographical region of the Arctic Slope Native Corporation. Examination of relevant documentation indicates that the NMNH maintains collections of human remains and objects from the Native communities of Barrow, Wainwright, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Point Hope.

This report contains information pertinent to the disposition of remains and objects dating to the post-European contact period in the vicinity of the Native community of Barrow. Reports on remains and objects from Anaktuvuk Pass and Wainwright are completed and have been sent to the relevant communities. Reports on the remains from Point Hope and the prehistoric remains from Barrow are forthcoming.

A consideration of the recent cultural history of the region indicates that cultural affiliation exists between the 18-20th century populations and the requestors. It was, therefore, recommended that these human remains and associated funerary objects be offered for repatriation. One individual, P0365890, may have come from Point Hope. It was recommended that the community of Point Hope be notified, and both communities be consulted before repatriation of this individual, as the specific affiliation of this individual is not specified by available documentation.

This report is the third part of the response to the claim put forward by Ms. Harcharek on behalf of the Native communities within the territory of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. It is sent to the Native Village of Barrow, the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation, the North Slope Borough Planning Department, the Arctic Slope Native Association, and the Barrow Mayor's office. The Native Community of Point Hope, Tigara Corporation, and the Point Hope Mayor's office was also notified. Additional copies are available, upon request, from the Repatriation Office, NMNH.

An addendum to this report revised the number of individuals eligible for repatriation, a total of 102 catalog numbers containing 127 individuals are identified as human remains affiliated to the Native Village of Barrow and these human remains and funerary objects have been offered for repatriation to the Native Village of Barrow.

Repatriation Update
The culturally affiliated human remains and funerary objects were repatriated jointly to the Native Village of Barrow and the Ukpeagvik Iñupiat Corporation on September 7, 2005.

Back to top

Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History