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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains Requested for Repatriation by the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska, in the Collections of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Alaska
Associated Cultures: Aleut Community of St. Paul Island

2011
Documentation of human remains from St. Paul Island was initiated in response to an official request from Mr. Dimitri Philemonof, President of the Aleutian/Pribilof Island Association, for the identification and return of any human remains from indigenous settlements associated with the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island. Examination of the relevant museum records and osteological analyses indicated that the NMNH houses the remains of two individuals represented by two catalog numbers.

The human remains of two individuals were acquired in 1868 by Dr. Thomas T. Minor who was a collector for the U.S. National Museum (later NMNH). The site on St. Paul Island where Minor obtained the remains is undocumented.  

Several lines of evidence support the cultural affiliation of these remains to the Aleut Community of St. Paul. These include the historical record of local Unangan (Aleut) settlement and land use on St. Paul Island, NMNH accession and catalog documents, and the morphological characteristics of the remains themselves. Taken together, these factors indicate a preponderance of evidence in support of this conclusion. Therefore, it is recommended that the remains of two Native Alaskan individuals in two catalog numbers be made available for repatriation to the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History