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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains and Associated Funerary Objects from Point Hope, Arctic Slope Native Corporation, in the National Museum of Natural History

Region: Alaska
Associated Cultures: Inupiat, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation
, Native Village of Point Hope

In compliance with the repatriation provisions of Public Law 101-185 (20 U.S.C. Section 80q), the National Museum of the American Indian Act, this report provides an inventory and assessment of cultural affiliation of the human remains in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) associated with prehistoric and historic occupations at Point Hope, Alaska.

Documentation of the remains from this region was initiated in January 1995 in response to a claim from Ms. Jana Harcharek, Liaison Officer, Inupiat History, Language and Culture Division, North Slope Borough Planning Department (NSBPD). She requested the return of any culturally affiliated remains from the Arctic Slope of Alaska. Repatriation Office archival research for this claim identified human remains and associated funerary objects from Point Barrow, Wainwright, Anaktuvuk Pass, and Point Hope in the NMNH. In November 1995 the Native Community of Point Hope elected to represent themselves in repatriation matters with the RO, NMNH. All further consultations were conducted directly with the Point Hope community, although the NSBPD was included in these communications.

Human remains contained in 298 catalogue numbers, representing a minimum of 354 individuals in the Physical Anthropology Division, 26 funerary objects in the Ethnology Division, and 20 funerary objects in the Archaeology Division of the NMNH were identified as having come from Point Hope. A consideration of the cultural history of the region indicates that cultural affiliation exists between the skeletal populations and the contemporary community of Point Hope. It was, therefore, recommended that these human remains and funerary objects be offered for repatriation.

This report is the fourth part of the response to this claim and identifies remains and objects from sites near Point Hope. The other completed reports pertain to remains and funerary objects from Wainwright, Anaktuvuk Pass, and 19th century cemeteries at Barrow. Each of these are compiled as separate reports and are sent to traditional tribal councils and village corporations of the respective communities. Repatriation reports are also available, upon request, from the Repatriation Office. All sections of the response to the repatriation claim are sent to the Inupiat History, Language and Culture Division, North Slope Borough Planning Department.

Repatriation Update
The culturally affiliated remains from Point Hope were repatriated to representatives of the Native Village of Point Hope on August 26, 1996.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History