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Tribes Lead Boarding School Repatriation Effort

Tribes Lead Boarding School Repatriation Effort Tribes Lead Boarding School Repatriation Effort

Fort Peck Tribes Cultural Resources Department Director Dyan Youpee oversaw the signing of important documents related to the repatriation of two deceased Tribal members Jan. 31 in Poplar.

Youpee is also the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History Native American Repatriation Review Committee appointee from the Tribes.

Michael Redstone, a descendant of Christine Redstone, who was buried at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania, joined Youpee and tribal leaders to sign documents necessary to bring her relative home. The remains of tribal member Peter Howe are also in the process of being brought home from Carlisle.

A long history of abuse and neglect has been documented at Carlisle and other boarding schools, where an effort to extinguish Native identity was official policy. Redstone and Howe were among the children who never made it home.

The U.S. Army War College currently operates the former Carlisle site and has been active in exhuming and returning the remains of dozens of children.

At the Jan. 31 meeting, documents were signed authorizing the transportation of remains.

“Two living descendants will sign affidavits,” Youpee told the Northern Plains Independent prior to the event. Chairman Justin Gray Hawk was in attendance at the meeting and signed as a witness.

The signing was one part of an arduous process, according to Youpee, who said excavation plans will take place in September. “This is the only month that Tribes are allowed to excavate their ancestors,” Youpee said. The full disinterment isn’t expected to be complete until 2026.

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