WAUCONDA, Ill. — Native American bones and funerary objects that have been in a suburban Chicago museum collection for decades are on track to be returned to a Michigan-based tribe.
Lake County Forest Preserve District officials said most of the remains and other objects were unearthed at sites in Lake County, and one set came from McHenry County. They’ll be turned over to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, which has lived in the Great Lakes region for centuries.
The artifacts have been in storage at the district’s Lake County Discovery Museum, and were donated in the late 1950s or early 1960s by the Lake County Museum of History, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/2ccKrDG ) reported.
The remains were on display in the Discovery Museum until the 1990 adoption of a law requiring federally funded agencies and institutions to return Native American cultural items to lineal descendants or culturally affiliated tribes.
Officials spent more than 15 years looking for a tribe willing to take the artifacts, district collections coordinator Diana Dretske said. That search eventually led to Michigan’s Pokagon Band tribe.
“It’s been a great responsibility to look after these remains all these years,” Dretske said. “But now we’re doing the right thing for the tribes and their ancestors.”
Pokagon official Marcus Winchester said his tribe is committed to restoring the reverence owed to Native American ancestors. He said the remains will be ceremoniously reburied.
The forest service’s full board is expected to approve the transfer plan Sept. 13.
Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com