Menominee Indian Tribe News


The Menominee Tribal Historic Preservation Office (MTHPO), on behalf of the Menominee Tribe, will be repatriating our ancestor’s human remains and associated funerary objects from two sites on the Menominee River and a site on Shawano Lake. In 2011, MTHPO submitted a letter “Letter of Intent to Repatriate” to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor to repatriate our ancestor’s human remains and associated funerary objects taken from the Riverside Cemetery located on the banks of the Menominee River near Menominee, Michigan and from the White Rapids Mound group located at Sixty Islands-Menominee River. The Shawano Lake remains came from a mound group called the Radick site located there and we “consulted” with the University Of Wisconsin Madison-Anthropology Department. Consultations were held with both entities through the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).

The tribe decided to write a “Cultural Affiliation” claim for the remains with the approval of the Menominee Tribal Legislature. The Cultural Affiliation Claim was written by archaeologist Dr. David Overstreet with the help of MTHPO. The cultural affiliation claim meant that the tribe’s claim for the remains and associated funerary objects were “exclusively” Menominee. The claim was submitted to the University of Michigan and after several NAGPRA “consultation” meetings and a visit to the University of Michigan it was finally approved in 2021. The claim was also sent to the Milwaukee Public Museum who also had our ancestor’s remains from the Riverside site and they approved the claim and those ancestor’s will be repatriated at a later date.

This was significant for the tribe because of the associated funerary objects from the Riverside Cemetery were dated 800 AD from the “Old Copper Culture”, meaning the tribe is recognized at being a part of the “Old Copper Culture” of which we claimed in our NAGPRA “Cultural Affiliation Claim”.

According to the NAGPRA Inventory of completion; In 1956-57, human remains representing, at a minimum, nine individuals were removed from the Riverside Cemetery site (20ME1) in Menominee County, MI by the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology (UMMAA) archaeologist A.C. Spaulding who excavated the multi-component site on multiple occasions. The human remains belong to one child 5-9 years old, of indeterminate sex; one cremated young adult 17-19 years old, of indeterminate sex; one adult male 30+ years old; one adult of indeterminate sex; one cremated infant; and four cremated adults of indeterminate sex. No known individuals were identified. The 25 associated funerary objects are one lot of small, white perforated flat beads; one lot of conical copper points; one lot of small, flat, and irregular-shaped copper fragments; one lot of faunal bone fragments and charcoal; one lot of shouldered projectile points; one lot of copper points/cones; one lot of small, heavy copper fragments; one lot of projectile point tip fragments; one lot of faunal bone fragments, bark fragments, and red ochre; one lot large, red ochre-stained obsidian cores; one lot of copper beads and bark fragments, one lot of re ochre-stained flint scrapers and flakes; one lot of red-
ochre-stained rounded whetstones; one lot of copper awls; one lot of socketed copper spears; one lot of flat-stemmed or fish-tailed copper projectile points; one lot of red ochre-covered chert projectile points; one lot of wood fragments; one lot of red ochre-covered beaver tooth fragments; one lot of red ochre coated wood and bone fragments; one lot of red ochre-and copper stained faunal bone fragments; one lot of dog cranium fragments with vials of red ochre; one lot of red ochre stained and perforated lynx scapula fragments; one lot of flat stemmed copper projectile points and wood fragments; and one lot of red ochre-stained faunal scapulae.
The White Rapids Mound group site is located in the Menominee State Forest near the Michigan border and Sixty Islands along the Menominee River. The site was excavated in 1956 by UMMA under the direction of Arthur C. Spaulding. The White Rapids Mound 2 contains three separate burial episodes, designated as features 1, 2, and 3. Feature 1 is described as an extended adult female burial. Feature 2 is described as containing charred remains from several long bones representing an unknown number of individuals. Feature 3 is described as fragmentary remains from a disturbed burial. No artifacts were noted as found in association with the burials.
In 1970, human remains representing a minimum of 8 individuals (five of the remains were already repatriated to the tribe) were removed from the Radick site, in Shawano County (Shawano Lake) Wisconsin, by James Stotlman and Kenneth Bennett of the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison). Stoltman and Bennett excavated a conical mound located near Shawano Lake after the landowner discovered burials during construction on his property. The mound was originally one of three conicals, but when Stoltman and Bennett arrived much of the mound had already been removed. The human remains were fragmentary and there were 14 associated funerary objects.

Repatriation ceremonies will take place on November 11 and 12, 2022 at the Menominee Logging Museum. Representatives from University of Michigan Anthropological NAGPRA office and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources State Archaeologist will accompany the remains to the Menominee reservation. Pot-Luck feasts will take place on Friday evening on November 11 and at noon on November 12. Reburial will be at the Repatriation burial site at Crow Settlement.

We would like to ask the community for a donations of fire wood for the fires inside and outside and donations for our give-away (blankets especially) and remember the two pot-luck feasts. Those who would like to volunteer please call 715-799-5258.

Please, small children should not attend the two day event.


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