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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 Arikara in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Region: Plains
Associated Cultures: Arikara, Mandan, Sioux, Standing Rock Sioux, Cheyenne River Sioux

2005
This report provides an inventory and assessment of human remains and funerary objects potentially affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. An inventory and assessment of human remains and funerary object potentially affiliated with the Mandan and Hidatsa was completed in a separate report.

A summary of the recommendations is listed below by the approximately 40 locations from which the remains were obtained. In total, the skeletal remains of 1,288 individuals and 14,449 funerary objects are found to be affiliated with the Arikara, 11 individuals and two funerary objects are found to be affiliated with the Arikara or Mandan, nine individuals are found to be affiliated with the Mandan, and one individual is affiliated with the Sioux. The affiliation findings by site or collection location are detailed below.

The remains of one individual were sent from Fort Stevenson, North Dakota, in 1880. The person who donated the remains indicated that the remains are Arikara, and the cranial morphology is consistent with an Arikara affiliation. It is recommended that the remains should be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The partial skeletal remains of one individual were recovered from the surface at the Demery village site (39CO1), Corson County, South Dakota. The remains may be associated with either the Extended Coalescent or Extended Middle Missouri components at the site. People who resided at sites attributed to the Coalescent tradition in South Dakota are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Middle Missouri tradition in South Dakota are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The Leavenworth site (39CO9), Corson County, South Dakota, is a village and cemetery site that was used by the Arikara from about 1803 to 1832. Two individuals are from the 1915 and 1917 excavations by William Over; 27 individuals are from the 1923 excavations by Matthew Stirling; and three individuals and 127 funerary objects are from the 1932 excavations by William Duncan Strong. Objects from the 1923 excavation derive from several sites and because the artifact records often do not list provenience information, many objects cannot be identified to specific sites and burial contexts. The 1923 excavations were conducted at the cemeteries and villages at Leavenworth, Nordvold 1(39CO31), Nordvold 2/3 (39CO32/33) and Mobridge. Because it is often impossible to determine the site from which the funerary objects derive, all of the identified funerary objects are counted under the Leavenworth site section of the report. By correlating the 1923 field notes with the objects in the collections, and the sparse provenience notes on the catalog cards, a total of 2,494 funerary objects have been identified from the cemeteries at Leavenworth, Nordvold 1, Nordvold 2/3 and Mobridge. Not all of the objects that were recorded in the 1923 field notes at these four cemeteries have been identified in the collection. Some may not have been collected, some may have been misidentified in the field notes, and others may be in the collection but have not been identified by the methods and standards used in this report. Consultations have occurred with representatives of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the identifications of funerary objects within the 1923 Stirling collection. Additional funerary objects may be present within the 1923 collection and it is recommended that the NMNH consult further with representatives of the Arikara on the possible identification of funerary objects in these collections. Unlike the objects, the provenience of the human remains was usually recorded by grave and site location for the 1923 excavations. Leavenworth is an historic period site known to have been occupied by the Arikara. It is recommend that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of three individuals were obtained prior to 1918 from the vicinity of Mobridge, South Dakota, from the Leavenworth, Mobridge, Swan Creek, Oahe Village or Peoria Bottoms sites. The specific site from which the remains were obtained cannot be determined. All of the sites belong to the time of the Coalescent tradition and are affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

In 1922, the skeletal remains of two individuals were sent to the museum from a location that is likely to be near the town of Mobridge, South Dakota. While the site location of these remains has not been determined, a morphological analysis suggests that one individual is most likely affiliated with the Arikara and the second individual is most likely affiliated with the Mandan. It is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of 16 individuals are from the 1923 excavations at the Mobridge, Nordvold 2/3, Nordvold 1 or Leavenworth sites. The specific site from which the remains were obtained cannot be determined. These sites all belong to the time of the Coalescent tradition and are most likely culturally affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal elements of two individuals are from excavations at the Lower Grand (Davis) site (39CO14), Corson County, South Dakota. This site is assigned to the Extended Coalescent and is estimated to date to A.D. 1550-1600. These remains are most likely affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

One individual was recovered from excavations on a terrace west of the Potts village (39CO19), Corson County, South Dakota. The remains are most likely associated with the Extended Coalescent component at the Potts village. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

Two cemeteries (39CO31 and 39CO32/33) are associated with three earthlodge villages (39CO31, 39CO32 and 39CO33) that together are referred to as the Nordvold sites, Corson County, South Dakota. The villages and cemeteries belong to the time of the Extended Coalescent or Post-Contact Coalescent. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. The skeletal remains of six individuals were obtained from the 1923 excavations at the Nordvold 1 cemetery. The skeletal remains of 40 individuals are from the 1923 excavations at the Nordvold 2/3 cemetery. Because most funerary objects cannot be identified by cemetery for the 1923 excavations, all of the identified funerary objects were evaluated and totaled under the Leavenworth site. The skeletal remains of six individuals and 149 funerary objects are from the 1932 excavations at the Nordvold 2/3 cemetery. Consultations have occurred with representatives of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the identifications of funerary objects within the 1923 Stirling collection. Additional funerary objects may be present within the 1923 collection and it is recommended that the NMNH consult further with representatives of the Arikara on the possible identification of funerary objects in these collections. It is recommended that the remains and identified funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of four individuals were found during the excavation of Post-Contact Coalescent lodges at Red Horse Hawk village (39CO34), Corson County, South Dakota. Post-Contact Coalescent villages are most likely affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that the skeletal remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

A total of 23 individuals were obtained from the Rygh site (39CA4), Cambell County, South Dakota. The site belongs to the time of the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent and the human remains from sites with these components are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. One individual obtained during excavations in 1932 is thought to be from either the Rygh or Nordvold site. Eighteen individuals and several commingled remains are from excavations in 1958, and four individuals are from the 1971 excavations. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The Mobridge village and cemeteries (39WW1), Walworth County, South Dakota, belong to the time of the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent. The human remains and funerary objects at the NMNH were obtained from three excavations. Two individuals are from 1917 cemetery excavations. Excavations in 1923 obtained the skeletal remains of 39 individuals. Because most of the funerary objects cannot be identified by cemetery for the 1923 excavations, all of the objects were evaluated and totaled under the Leavenworth site. Consultations have occurred with representatives of the Three Affiliated Tribes on the identifications of funerary objects within the 1923 Stirling collection. Additional funerary objects may be present within the 1923 collection and it is recommended that the NMNH consult further with representatives of the Arikara on the possible identification of funerary objects in these collections. The 1971 cemetery excavations recovered the remains of 334 individuals and 1,158 funerary objects. One funerary object is missing from the collections. All together there are 375 individuals from Mobridge, not including one individual that is missing from the collections. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

A total of 14 individuals originate from excavations conducted in 1920 at the Swan Creek site (39WW7), Walworth County, South Dakota. The site belongs to the time of the Coalescent tradition. People who resided at sites attributed to the Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

One burial was excavated during the excavations at the Molstad site (39DW234), Dewey County, South Dakota. Although ten funerary artifacts are present at NMNH, the human remains were not sent to the museum. This Extended Coalescent variant village is most likely affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that the funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of four individuals originate from the excavations at the Steamboat Creek site (39PO1), Potter County, South Dakota. The site is assigned to the Post-Contact Coalescent variant and is most likely culturally affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

No human remains from the Hosterman village (39PO7), Potter County, South Dakota, are present at the NMNH. Several teeth were misidentified in the museum records as human. The teeth were reexamined and identified as bovid and a discussion is included here to correct the museum records.

The Cheyenne River site (39ST1), Stanley County, South Dakota, consists of a village and cemetery belonging to the time of the Extended Middle Missouri, Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent. The remains of 79 individuals and 1,659 funerary objects are probably associated with the Post-Contact Coalescent occupation. One individual from a Middle Missouri tradition house may be associated with either the Middle Missouri or Coalescent tradition occupations of the site. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Middle Missouri are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of three individuals were found during the excavation of the village at the Black Widow site (39ST3), Stanley County, South Dakota. Black Widow is assigned to the Extended Coalescent and the Post-Contact Coalescent. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of 29 individuals are from excavations at the Buffalo Pasture site (39ST6 and 39ST216), Stanley County, South Dakota. Three individuals are from the 1931 excavations; 26 individuals and eight funerary objects were obtained from the 1955 excavations. The Buffalo Pasture site is assigned to the Post-Contact Coalescent. Residents at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

A total of 12 individuals and 49 funerary objects are from excavations at a cemetery at the Indian Creek site (39ST15), Stanley County, South Dakota. The village has components that belong to the time of the Extended Middle Missouri and the Post-Contact Coalescent. The association of several historic objects with graves in the cemetery area indicate that the cemetery belongs to the time of the Post-Contact Coalescent and the most likely affiliation. Residents at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of one individual were obtained from a grave near Pierre, South Dakota, by F. W. Pettigrew and sent to the NMNH in 1892. An old Arikara camp or village was near the burial location and Pettigrew was told by the Sioux that the grave was Arikara. The presence of a nearby camp or village and the presence of pottery and wooden dishes, suggests that the remains are from a protohistoric or historic burial. The only protohistoric and historic camps or villages with pottery in the area are of the Coalescent tradition. People who resided at sites attributed to the Coalescent tradition are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. The funerary objects were not sent to the museum. The exact location of the grave was not reported and the remains cannot be associated with a particular site. Coalescent sites near Pierre are Indian Creek, Indian Farm School, and Leavitt. These remains are most likely culturally affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of ten individuals were obtained during the excavation of the Breeden site (39ST16), Stanley County, South Dakota. Breeden is a multi-component site, with at least two occupations, belonging to the time of the Initial Middle Missouri and Post-Contact Coalescent. People who resided at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Initial Middle Missouri are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. All of the skeletal remains were either intrusive or associated with the rectangular houses of the Initial Middle Missouri component. Five individuals and three funerary objects appear to be associated with the Post-Contact Coalescent component and are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. Two individuals are most likely associated with the Initial Middle Missouri component are most likely affiliated with the Mandan. Three individuals may be associated with either the Initial Middle Missouri or the Post-Contact Coalescent components, and are most likely affiliated with the Mandan or Arikara. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of one individual were excavated from the Gillette site (39ST23), Stanley County, South Dakota. This individual may be associated with either the Initial Middle Missouri, Extended Coalescent, or Post-Contact Coalescent components that are present at the site. A comparison of cranial morphology indicates that the individual is most similar to known Arikara crania. The preponderance of evidence is that the remains are affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The cranium of one individual and two funerary objects were found during the excavations of the fill above the floor of a rectangular house at the Dodd site (39ST30), Stanley County, South Dakota. Although the house in which the remains were buried, and the associated vessel belong to the time of the Initial Middle Missouri, the remains may belong to the time of the Post-Contact Coalescent based on the subsoil interment and associated metal artifact, which may be a Euro-American trade object. People who resided at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Initial Middle Missouri are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. This individual may be affiliated with the Mandan or Arikara and it is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The cranium and mandible of one individual were obtained from excavations on a hill overlooking the Cooper village (39ST45), Stanley County, South Dakota. The village contains components assigned to the Middle Missouri and Coalescent traditions. Subsurface interments on the hills adjacent to the villages are typical of the Coalescent tradition mortuary practices. A craniometric comparison of the cranium of this individual with the crania of individuals of known Arikara and Mandan affiliation indicates that the remains most likely derive from an Mandan. This individual is most likely associated with the Middle Missouri component, and is most likely culturally affiliated with the Mandan and it is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

Ten individuals were excavated from pit features in the village complex at the Black Widow Ridge site (39ST203), Stanley County, South Dakota. Extended Middle Missouri, Extended Coalescent, and Post-Contact Coalescent components are present at the site. No objects were associated with the burials. The burials are all subsurface interments characteristic of Coalescent tradition peoples and atypical of the Middle Missouri tradition. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Initial Middle Missouri are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. The individuals were examined in a previous study of Plains population relationships and assigned to the Post-Contact Coalescent variant. Stratigraphic relationships and morphological comparisons indicate that four individuals from Feature 3 most likely are associated with an Extended Middle Missouri component and are affiliated with the Mandan. A craniometric comparison of six individuals from Feature 12 and 14 indicates that they are most likely associated with the Extended Coalescent or Post-Contact Coalescent variant and affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that these remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of 22 individuals and 1,605 funerary objects are from excavations at the Leavitt cemetery (39ST215), Stanley County, South Dakota. The cemetery dates to the time of the Post-Contact Coalescent. People who resided at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of five individuals are from excavations at the Cattle Oiler site (39ST224), Stanley County, South Dakota. Three individuals may be associated with the Initial Middle Missouri, Extended Middle Missouri or the Extended Coalescent components at the site . The skeletal remains of one individual were found in an Initial Middle Missouri variant house. One individual classifies as an Arikara in a craniometric comparison. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Residents at sites attributed to the Initial Middle Missouri are most likely affiliated with the Mandan of the Three Affiliated Tribes. One individuals is most likely affiliated with the Mandan, one individual is most likely affiliated with the Arikara, and three individuals may be affiliated with either the Arikara or Mandan. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of two individuals are from excavations at the Post-Contact Coalescent Coleman site (39SL3), Sully County, South Dakota. Post-Contact Coalescent sites are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of one individual obtained from a scaffold were sent to the Army Medical Museum in 1874 from Fort Sully, South Dakota. The location from which the remains were obtained is uncertain but they could be from the Yellowstone River area or from near Fort Sully. According to the donor, the remains were obtained from a scaffold by soldiers. Sioux scouts were asked to identify the remains either when the remains were obtained or at some later time, and told an army surgeon that the remains were Arikara. Scaffolding is not characteristic of the Arikara, but was a common form of burial for the Sioux and other tribes. An evaluation of the morphology of the cranium shows a close relationship with the Sioux and not with the Arikara. If the remains were obtained from near Fort Sully, the remain are most likely affiliated with the Cheyenne River Sioux. If the remains were obtained on the route between Bismarck, North Dakota, and Glendive, Montana, the individual is most likely affiliated with the Standing Rock Sioux. It is recommended that the remains should be offered for repatriation to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and that the Three Affiliated Tribes be notified of this recommendation.

The skeletal remains of 582 individuals and 7,020 funerary objects are from the cemeteries and village excavations at the Sully site (39SL4), Sully County, South Dakota. The site contains components of the Extended Coalescent and Post-Contact Coalescent. Coalescent sites are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes. The morphology of the cranium of one of the individuals that was buried in a cemetery is consistent with Sioux cranial morphology and not with the Arikara cranial morphology. The cranium of this individual shows cultural modification by the removal of the cranial base and the drilling of two holes into the bone. As a result, under the repatriation legislation, the cranium is a cultural object. Under the repatriation laws, cultural objects that are buried in cemeteries are funerary objects affiliated with the Native Americans that interred the objects. Thus, the disposition of this cranium as a cultural object is controlled by the Three Affiliated Tribes under the repatriation legislation. However, a Native American tribe that controls the disposition of human remains or objects can, if they desire, include other groups that are not legally affiliated in disposition discussions.

The remains of two individuals were found during excavations in Extended Coalescent houses at 39SL8, Sully County, South Dakota. The residents of Coalescent tradition sites are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of two individuals and two funerary objects were exposed on the surface of the Ziltner site (39SL10), Sully County, South Dakota. Ziltner belongs to the time of the Extended Coalescent. People who resided at sites attributed to the Extended Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

One individual and one funerary object are from excavations at the C. B. Smith site (39SL29), Sully County, South Dakota. The human remains may be associated with either the Extended Middle Missouri or Extended Coalescent components at the site. The skeletal morphology suggests the individual is likely to be affiliated with the Arikara and associated with the Extended Coalescent component. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

A cranial fragment of one individual was obtained from the surface of the Arzberger site (39HU6), Hughes County, South Dakota. The village belongs to the time of the Initial Coalescent. Residents of Initial Coalescent sites are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

A tooth of an individual was found on the surface of the Bowman-East site (39HU63), Hughes County, South Dakota. The village belongs to the time of the Extended Coalescent. and the remains are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the tooth be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of two individuals were collected from the surface at the DeGrey site (39HU205), Hughes County, South Dakota. Three components may be present at the site. The Initial Coalescent and Extended Coalescent components are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. The Middle Missouri tradition component is most likely affiliated with the Mandan. The remains could be associated with any of these components and they are most likely affiliated with the Arikara or Mandan. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of two individuals were obtained from the surface of 39HU208, Hughes County, South Dakota. The remains probably were associated with the Extended Coalescent component at the village and were later exposed by erosion. The burials are most likely culturally affiliated with the Arikara and it is recommended that they be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The skeletal remains of two individuals and two funerary objects are associated with the Initial Coalescent occupation at the Black Partizan site (39LM218), Lyman County, South Dakota. The earlier identifiable group classified as the Initial Coalescent is most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of five individuals and 270 funerary objects are from excavations at the Oldham site (39CH7), Charles Mix County, South Dakota. All of the remains and funerary objects are likely to be associated with the Post-Contact Coalescent occupation. The people who resided at sites attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent are most likely affiliated with the Arikara of the Three Affiliated Tribes. It is recommended that the remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

The remains of one individual and two funerary objects are from excavations at the Hitchell site (39CH45), Charles Mix County, South Dakota. The remains and objects are most likely attributed to the Post-Contact Coalescent component and are most likely affiliated with the Arikara. It is recommended that the remains be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes.

In sum, it is recommended that the skeletal remains of 1,288 individuals and 14,449 funerary objects that are affiliated with the Arikara, the skeletal remains of 11 individuals and two funerary objects that are affiliated with the Arikara or Mandan, and the skeletal remains of nine individuals that are affiliated with the Mandan be offered for repatriation to the Three Affiliated Tribes. The skeletal remains of one individual sent from Fort Sully, South Dakota, is most likely Sioux and it is recommended that the remains be jointly offered for return to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and that the other Sioux tribes be informed of this recommendation.

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