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MU Museum of Anthropology awarded $100,000 grant to identify Native American remains

Museum of Anthropology Website

MU researchers have been awarded a $100,000 grant to work with Missouri’s Native American tribes to identify ancestral remains that belong to them.

Candace Sall, director of MU’s Museum of Anthropology, said the museum will be working with the Osage Nation and 12 other tribes that once lived on land in central Missouri.

With the two-year grant from the National Park Service, the museum will work with tribes to document items that were removed from tribal lands so they can be returned to their proper descendants.

Working with the tribes will also benefit the museum by partnering with Native Americans in the process.

“Consultations with the tribes have improved our relationships, and we are able to have Native voices tell their stories in the museum,” Sall said.

The Museum of Anthropology closed in October after leaving Mizzou North. Currently, museum exhibits are being built at a new location on the lower level of Ellis Library and will reopen in a few months.

Missouri State University was also awarded a grant of $69,000. This money will be used to hire an archaeologist to review bones and other remains in its collection and check if any human remains were misidentified, said Kevin Cupkahead, the director of the Bernice S. Warren Center for Archaeological Research in Springfield.

It will also be used for travel expenses so interested tribe members can visit the research center.

The grants were announced by the National Park Service in a news release Monday as part of the Native American Graves and Protection Act. A total of $2.1 million in grants was awarded to nine Native American tribes and 20 museums across the country.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funds to return Native American cultural items and remains to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Native American tribes. It was enacted in 1990.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.