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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Native American Human Remains from the State of Connecticut in the National Museum of Natural History

Region: Northeast
Associated Cultures: Mohegan, Pequot

In compliance with Section 20 U.S.C.--Section 80q (Public Law 101-185), the National Museum of the American Indian Act, the report provides an inventory and assessment of Native American human remains in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) from the state of Connecticut.

Documentation of the remains from this area was initiated in August 1994, in response to a request from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut for the return of culturally affiliated remains and funerary objects from Connecticut. To insure that all remains potentially affiliated with the Mashantucket Pequot were identified, all Native American human remains from the state of Connecticut in the NMNH were documented as part of this request. Besides the Mashantucket Pequot, other Native American communities potentially affected by the findings of this report are the Mohegan Tribe of Indians, the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot, the Schaghticoke Tribe, and the Golden Hill Paugusset Tribe, all of Connecticut.

A total of twenty-two sets of remains, representing twenty-eight individuals, in the Physical Anthropology and Archaeology collections of the NMNH were identified as having come from the state of Connecticut. The remains were enumerated as follows. Four sets of remains were collected from the city of Hartford. An additional eleven sets of remains are from the greater Hartford area. Of these eleven, four sets were collected from East Windsor Hill. Two sets, an infant frontal bone and a skull, were collected from Farmington. Five sets of remains were collected from South Windsor.

An additional four sets of remains were identified as having come from Milford, Connecticut. Finally, three sets of remains, representing two individuals, and associated metal arrow points were collected from the United States Submarine Base in New London.

Based on 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, it was determined that two individuals (represented by three catkeys: P0303691, A303692, and A303693) and the associated metal arrow points (A303692 and A303693), recovered from the United States Submarine Base in New London, were equally likely to be affiliated with either the Mohegan or the Pequot. The report recommended that consultation be initiated with both tribes as to the disposition of these remains and objects.

The specific cultural affiliation for the other nineteen sets of remains evaluated in the report could not be established on the basis of the available evidence. It was therefore recommended that these remains be retained by the Museum until additional information bearing on the question of cultural affiliation is forthcoming.

Repatriation Update
In subsequent consultation with both tribes, it was agreed that the culturally affiliated remains and objects would be repatriated to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe. These remains and objects were repatriated to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in 1997.

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