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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary
Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains and Funerary Objects Potentially Affiliated with the Menominee Tribe in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Region: Northeast
Associated Cultures: Menominee

2003
In compliance with Public Law 101-185, the National Museum of the American Indian Act, this report provides an inventory and assessment of the human remains and funerary objects in the possession or control of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) potentially affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin.

The report documents remains of nine individuals in seven catalog numbers and 28 funerary objects in 11 catalog numbers in the collections of the NMNH.

Remains of four individuals were collected from Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, and were sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1888 by H. P. Hamilton. Three of these individuals were accessioned into the collections in 1889. A fourth individual was not accessioned into the collections until 1929. Although these remains may have come from a Woodland period mound of unknown age, the specific site from which they originated is unknown. Therefore, the age and cultural associations of the remains cannot be determined. The preponderance of evidence indicates that the remains from Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, cannot be culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It was recommended that the remains of these four individuals be retained at the NMNH.

Eight funerary objects were collected from Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Seven of these objects were sent to the museum by Colonel P. W. Norris of the Bureau of Ethnology in 1883. Six of the objects are arrow points typical of many Late Prehistoric groups of the eastern United States. Another object, a copper projectile point, is typical of the Old Copper Complex dating to the Middle Archaic Period (4000-1200 BC). The last item, a copper awl, was sent to the NMNH by Frederick S. Perkins in 1890. Copper awls of this type are common to Old Copper Complex sites, but are also found at sites of other cultures and time periods. The site or sites from which these eight objects originated is unknown and the earlier group to which they belonged cannot be identified. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that these eight objects cannot be culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It was recommended that these eight objects be retained at the NMNH until the cultural affiliation of these objects is established.

Two funerary objects in NMNH collections identified as having originated from an Indian grave at an unknown site, near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They were sold to the Smithsonian Institution by Frederick S. Perkins. A copper awl was purchased in 1890, and a metal shoe buckle was purchased in 1892. The awl is not diagnostic and could have been associated with a number of different prehistoric or historic groups. The shoe buckle dates to the historic period between 1700 to 1815. Many different tribes and Euro-Americans were active in the Oshkosh area during this period and the shoe buckle could have been associated with any of them. The preponderance of the available evidence indicates that these two objects cannot be culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It was recommended that the two objects be retained at the NMNH.

Remains of one individual and 18 funerary objects were collected from near Shiocton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, and were sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1894 by C. L. Allen. The specific site or sites from which these remains and objects originated is unknown. The funerary objects in this accession are consistent with those found in Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Early Woodland and Middle Woodland period contexts. Therefore, the specific age and cultural associations of the remains cannot be clearly established. The preponderance of evidence indicates the remains and objects cannot be culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It was recommended that the remains of this individual and 18 objects be retained at the NMNH.

Human remains representing two individuals were collected by unknown persons from a mound group on the southern shore of White Lake, in the township of Royalton, Waupaca County, Wisconsin prior to 1868. The remains were sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1868 by Dr. Levi W. Bliss of Waupaca, Wisconsin and then were transferred to the Army Medical Museum in 1869, and the remains were transferred back to the Smithsonian Institution in 1898. In his transmittal letter, Dr. Bliss, the donor, identified the remains as belonging to "mound builders." Although the exact site from which the remains were removed is unknown, Dr. Bliss' descriptions of the location suggest that they were from one of two Woodland period mound groups on the south shore of White Lake. Both of these mound groups are of unknown age and may have contained multiple Woodland period components. Therefore, the age and cultural associations of the remains cannot be determined beyond the generalized Woodland period. The preponderance of evidence indicates that these remains cannot be culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin. It was not possible to demonstrate the earlier identifiable group to which these remains belong, and it is not possible to demonstrate the existence of a reasonable link of shared group identity between these remains and any present day tribe. It was recommended that the remains of these two individuals in two catalog entries be retained at the NMNH.

Human remains representing one individual were collected from the banks of the South Branch of the Little Wolf River, in the township of Royalton, Waupaca County, Wisconsin, in 1860. The remains were sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1868 by Dr. Levi W. Bliss of Waupaca, Wisconsin and then were transferred to the Army Medical Museum in 1869, and the remains were transferred back to the Smithsonian Institution in 1898. In his transmittal letter, Levi W. Bliss, the donor, identified the remains as those of a named Menominee individual. The evidence indicates that this individual was a Menominee leader named Waukanuka, but efforts to identify lineal descendents of this man have been unsuccessful. Therefore, it was recommended that the remains of this Menominee individual be offered for repatriation to the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin.

The remains of one individual were collected from an unknown location in northern Wisconsin and were sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1854 by Reverend A. Constantine Barry. These remains were transferred to the Army Medical Museum in 1868 and were transferred back to the Smithsonian Institution in 1898. The specific site from which they originated is unknown. The condition of the remains suggests the individual had not been buried long before being exhumed. The remains of this individual are identified in original accession records as belonging to a Menominee girl. The preponderance of evidence indicates that these remains are culturally affiliated with the Menominee Tribe. It was recommended that the remains of this Menominee individual be offered for repatriation to the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin.

Repatriation Update
The remains of the two culturally affiliated individuals were repatriated to the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin on November 7, 2003.

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