September 25 will mark two years since UT President Jay Hartzel released statement Expresses UT’s recognition of the Miyakan-Garza of the Coahuiltecan people and their indigenous claim being stored in the university.
Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory In his possession are three sets of human remains that the Miyakan-Garza has requested to be returned to them. Two groups have been identified by The Lab is still indigenous to Hays County, located between Austin and San Marcos, while the third group has been attributed to unknown African-American or Anglo-American ancestry.
The lab analyzed the two sets of Aboriginal remains, but the results were inconclusive as to which particular tribe they belonged to. However, the Miyakan-Garza claim that all three groups are aboriginal remains and can be traced back to their ancestors.
Emi Aguilar, culture and communication pīlam in Institute of Aboriginal Cultures (ICI), A . was regulated social initiative To pressure the university to return the remains to the Miyakan-Garza squad.
“Most of the time, it’s actually very rare to return the remains to anyone because there is no oversight incentivizing institutions to do so,” Aguilar said. “There is no timetable.”
according to University And email correspondence from the ICI, two federally recognized tribes, the Alabama-Coushata and Kadu, objected to the return of the remains to the Miyakan-Garza. Because the Miyakan-Garza is not a federally recognized tribe,
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Actreferred to as NAGPRA, requires that federally recognized tribes have the final say in the matter of returning remains.
“(The Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory) has facilitated three requests from the Miakan-Garza squad for the delivery of human remains,” Daniel Oppenheimer, Director of Public Affairs, said in an email. “In the absence of any culturally specific information linking the remains to the Miyakan-Garza, and given the objection of the Federally Recognized Tribes, the laboratory is obligated by law to retain the remains.”
NAGPRA, a federal law, requires a party that finds any Aboriginal cultural remains or objects to facilitate a respectful return to the appropriate receiving party.
“I’m not surprised if the issue is that it’s federal law that’s holding us back,” said Sewa Olivares, co-director of operations for the Native American and Indigenous Caucus of Utah. “None of this is structured in such a way that we get justice, or so that we can live the lives we have always lived and that our grandparents laid down for us.”
Aguilar said federal recognition creates tension between federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes. They said that the conflict between the tribes might be the reason why these tribes objected to the return of the remains.
“Unfortunately, this[tension]exists where if you are not a federally recognized tribe, they will not see you as ‘real’ citizens,” Aguilar said.
Olivares and the group have been in contact with the Institute of Indigenous Cultures to share resources regarding the state of the remains.
“It’s like they’re just hoping we’ll forget, and hopefully we’ll give it up eventually,” said Olivares, a senior press official. “Systematically, the cards are stacked against Aboriginal people, our interests, and what we value culturally.”
Fred Valdez, director of the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory, suggested building a public park where a Texas-style cemetery could house all of the university’s indigenous remains. If the proposal passes through NAGPRA and receives no objections from the federally recognized tribes, the remains will be placed inside a map-like cemetery according to where they were initially found.
On September 14, ICI a . will be held walking prayer Through the UT campus to raise awareness about the issue.
“What we believe is that when ancestors are taken from the earth, their souls wait in agony to be brought back so they can continue this journey,” Aguilar said. “The goal is that our ancestors can rest and bring them back to Earth in a good way.”