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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary
Assessment of Human Remains from Owens Valley, California, in the National Museum of Natural History Smithsonian Institution
Region: California
Associated Cultures: Paiute, Shoshone

2001
In compliance with 20 U.S.C. Section 80q (Public Law 101-185, the National Museum of the American Indian Act), this report provides an inventory and assessment of the human remains in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) from Owens Valley, California. Documentation of the remains was initiated in response to a request for the repatriation of an individual identified in the museum records as Paiute by the Koso Native Graves Protection Committee, on behalf of the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone, the Big Pine Paiute Shoshone, the Fort Independence Paiute, and Bishop Colony Paiute-Shoshone. These Native American tribes represent four of the five federally-recognized tribes in Owens Valley, California. The Benton Paiute (Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe of the Benton Paiute Reservation, California ) are also a federally-recognized tribe in the Owens Valley Paiute, although they are not members of the Koso Native Graves Protection Committee.

A preponderance of the available information indicates the remains are those of an Owens Valley Paiute individual from California. No further information is available on this person, the circumstances and date of her death, or a more specific affiliation. No funerary objects are present in the museum collection.

The Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History recommended that the Smithsonian Institution offer to repatriate the remains to the Paiute from the Owens Valley that comprise five separate federally-recognized tribes: the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone, the Big Pine Paiute Shoshone, the Fort Independence Paiute, the Bishop Colony Paiute-Shoshone and the Benton Paiute. The Koso Native Graves Protection Committee represents the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone, the Big Pine Paiute Shoshone, the Fort Independence Paiute, the Bishop Colony Paiute-Shoshone. The Owens Valley remains are likely to be most closely affiliated with the Paiute tribes that reside in Owens Valley. The Paiute tribes in Nevada and Oregon were also notified of this recommendation.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History