Associated Cultures: Arapaho, Arikara, Caddo, Cheyenne,
Comanche, Kansa, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Oglala Lakota
Sioux, Osage, Pawnee, Sioux, Wichita
In compliance with the National Museum of the American
Indian Act (20 U.S.C. Section 80q), this report provides
an inventory and assessment of the human remains and
associated funerary objects from Nebraska, Kansas,
and Colorado, housed in the collections of the National
Museum of Natural History (NMNH), that are potentially
affiliated with the Pawnee Tribe. Documentation of
remains and associated funerary objects from this area
was initiated in response to requests in 1992 and 1994
from the Pawnee Tribe for an evaluation of remains
housed at the NMNH and listed in Census Report on Human
Remains Ancestral to the Pawnee Tribe at the Smithsonian
Institution, prepared by Roger Echo-Hawk. In that report,
the remains potentially affiliated with the Pawnee
Tribe were arranged into four groups and this grouping
has been retained in the present report. This report
documents the human and archaeological remains from
Groups II, III, and IV listed in the census report.
The remains from Group I, which consists of 12 sets
of protohistoric and historic Pawnee remains, were
evaluated by the Repatriation Office in an earlier
report, People of the Stars: Pawnee Heritage and
the Smithsonian Institution. That report recommended
that the remains of 12 individuals be returned to
the Pawnee for repatriation.
Group II consists of 15 sets of remains, representing
17 individuals, that were recovered from Central
Plains Tradition archaeological contexts in Nebraska
. Of these, 13 sets of remains, representing a minimum
of 14 individuals, can be attributed to the Central
Plains Tradition. A preponderance of the evidence
shows that the Central Plains Tradition is ancestral
to the Pawnee and Arikara tribes.
The remaining two sets of remains in Group II, representing
three individuals from the Central Plains Tradition
archaeological contexts, but may not be Central Plains
Group III contains 13 sets of remains, representing
14 individuals, that were collected in the 1860s
and 1870s by U.S. Army personnel in Kansas and Colorado
for the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C.
All of the remains likely date to the historic period.
Of the 13 sets, one set of human remains is affiliated
with the Cheyenne and has been repatriated to that
tribe. The other 12 sets have limited documentation
and may be affiliated with any of the tribes that
the military was in contact with in the area. These
tribes include the Arapaho, Caddo, Cheyenne, Comanche,
Kansa, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Oglala, Osage, Pawnee,
and Wichita. The Repatriation Office may undertake
cranial studies that may help to identify the specific
tribal affiliation of these remains and will contact
each tribe regarding the possible cultural affiliation
of these remains.
Group IV consists of 15 sets of remains, representing
17 individuals, that come from contexts predating
A.D. 1000 and have no known specific tribal cultural
The Repatriation Office consulted with Pawnee representatives
and repatriated the remains as Group II in 1995.
The Repatriation Office repatriated 13 sets of remains
identified as Group II to the Pawnee Tribe in 1995.
The Pawnee have been authorized by cooperative resolutions
from the Wichita and Three Affiliated Tribes (Arikara,
Hidatsa, and Mandan ) to be responsible for the decisions
involving the repatriation of human remains from
the Central Plains Tradition.
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