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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)
Executive Summary
Inventory and Assessment of the Human Remains from the Lower Columbia River Valley, Oregon and Washington States, in the National Museum of Natural History
Region: Northwest Coast
Associated Cultures: Chehalis, Chinook, Duwamish, Grande Ronde, Kikiallus, Klallam, Lummi, Makah, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Nooksack, Puyallup, Quinault, Quileute, Samish, Sauk-Suiattle, Shoalwater Bay, Skokomish, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Steilacoom Tribe, Squaxin Island, Stillaguamish, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tulalip, Umatilla, Upper Skagit, Warm Springs

1997
In compliance with Section 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 the Lower Columbia River Valley, Oregon and Washington states. This report represents one of a set of comprehensive reports documenting collections of human remains and funerary objects curated by the NMNH. Documentation of the remains from this area was initiated in 1993, as part of the casework completed in response to a 1990 request from the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde Reservation for the return of culturally affiliated remains and funerary objects from their aboriginal territories. The Repatriation Office completed a case report titled "Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains and Funerary Objects from Northwestern Oregon in the NMNH" that provided information on that area of the country. This report provides data on the remaining individuals and funerary objects from the Lower Columbia River region.

As the Lower Columbian River tribes are currently represented in several reservations and confederations, other Native American communities potentially affected by the findings of this report (in addition to the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde) are the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama, the Jamestown Klallam Tribe of Washington, the Lower Elwha Tribal Community of the Lower Elwha Reservation (Klallam), the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, the Nisqually Tribe, the Nooksack Tribe, the Puyallup Tribe, the Quinault Tribe, the Quileute Tribe, the Samish Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, the Upper Skagit Tribe, the Skokomish Tribe, the Snohomish Tribe, the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, the Swinomish Tribe, and the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, all of whom are federally recognized. Communities which may also have an interest in this report are the Chinook Indian Tribe, the Duwamish Tribe, the Kikiallus Tribe, and the Steilacoom Tribe.

A total of thirty-seven catalogued sets of human remains, representing thirty-seven individuals, in the Physical Anthropology and Archaeology Divisions of the NMNH are identified as having come from the Lower Columbia River Valley of Washington and Oregon. The remains are enumerated as follows: sixteen sets of remains were collected by the Wilkes Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842, and represent the largest collection documented here. Nine sets of remains were collected from Government Island near Portland by C. H. and Dav Raffety. Four sets of remains were collected from the mouth of the Columbia by W. E. Whitehead, a physician employed by the U.S. Army. Three sets of remains were collected from unknown sites by John Evans, a geologist. The remaining five sets of remains represent isolated collections from five different individuals. Twenty-five of the sets of remains are identified by museum records as Chinook. The accession dates range from 1853 to 1884. The available data suggest that almost every set of remains was removed from an historic period burial, although this is sometimes based on circumstantial evidence. A single associated funerary object was found with a set of remains, and is also reported on here.

The sum of the available evidence, which includes museum and archival records, information on aboriginal village locations, mortuary practices, local archaeology, the skeletal biology, and the recovery context of the remains, indicates that twenty-three (23) sets of remains can be identified as Chinookans of the Lower Columbia River Valley. For these remains, consultation was initiated with the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama, the Quinault Tribe, all of which are federally recognized, and the Chinook Indian Tribe.

One (1) set of remains is identified as Chinookan (Division unknown). For these remains, consultation was initiated with the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama, the Quinault Tribe (all of which are federally recognized), and the Chinook Indian Tribe.

Five (5) sets of remains are identified as "Lower-Middle Columbia River Tribe," defined as the Salishan and Sahaptian speakers occupying the Columbia from the mouth of the Columbia River to Walla Walla. For these remains, consultation was initiated with the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama, the Quinault Tribe (all of which are federally recognized), and the Chinook Indian Tribe.

Four (4) sets of remains are identified as Coastal Salishan/Columbia River Salishan or Sahaptian. For these remains, consultation was initiated with the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, the Confederated Tribes of the Yakama, the Jamestown Klallam Tribe of Washington, the Lower Elwha Tribal Community of the Lower Elwha Reservation (Klallam), the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, the Lummi Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Muckleshoot Tribe, the Nisqually Tribe, the Nooksack Tribe, the Puyallup Tribe, the Quinault Tribe, the Quileute Tribe, the Samish Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, the Upper Skagit Tribe, the Skokomish Tribe, the Snohomish Tribe, the Snoqualmie Tribe, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Stillaguamish Tribe, the Suquamish Tribe, the Swinomish Tribe, and the Tulalip Tribes of the Tulalip Reservation, all of which are federally recognized. The Chinook Indian Tribe, Duwamish Tribe, Kikiallus Tribe, and the Steilacoom Tribe were also be consulted.

Finally, four (4) sets of remains do not have enough information to accurately identify the affiliation, and are considered to be Native American of unknown cultural affiliation. It is recommended that these remains be retained by the Museum until additional consultation and evidence bearing on the question of cultural affiliation is forthcoming.

A single shell bead (AT25018) associated with one of the sets of remains described here (P0243597) is recommended for retention by the Museum until additional consultation and evidence bearing on the question of cultural affiliation is forthcoming.

Repatriation Update
Of the skeletal remains discussed above, four sets of remains identified as Salishan/Sahaptian, four sets of remains identified as Columbia River Tribe(s), and one set of remains indentified as Chinookan (division unknown) were repatriated to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community on September 15, 1999.

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