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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Human Remains Potentially Affiliated with the Miami Tribe in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Northeast
Associated Cultures: Miami

In compliance with 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 possession or control of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) potentially affiliated with the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

The report documents the remains of one individual in one catalog number in the collections of the NMNH, and summarizes the information pertaining to a second individual that had been sent to the NMNH for study, but is no longer present at the Museum.

Human remains of one individual were collected from an unknown location in Indiana and were first sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1873 by Dr. A. Ashbaugh. These remains were transferred to the Army Medical Museum (AMM) in 1873 and were transferred back to the Smithsonian Institution in 1898. The specific site from which they originated is unknown.  The condition of the remains suggests the individual may not have been buried long before being exhumed and had probably been in a protected context such as a coffin.  The remains of this individual are identified in original accession records as those of a Miami woman. The preponderance of evidence indicates that these remains are culturally affiliated with the Miami Tribe. It was recommended that the remains of this Miami individual be offered for repatriation to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

This report also reviews the remains of one individual that were sent on loan to the Museum in 1912 by Jacob Stouder. This skull was collected by Albert and Charles Lochner on July 4, 1912 from four Native American graves in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Historic artifacts found with the graves suggested that one of the graves was that of the Miami Chief, Little Turtle. Jacob Stouder, believing the remains could be those of Little Turtle, loaned the skull to the Smithsonian Institution for study. The remains were assessed as those of a 22 or 23 year old female and not those of Little Turtle. The remains were not retained by the Smithsonian Institution and it is assumed that they were returned to Stouder. Should any additional information be identified in the future that pertains to these remains the Repatriation Office recommends that such information be provided to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

Repatriation Update
The culturally affiliated remains of the woman from Indiana were repatriated to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma on November 10, 2003.

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Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History