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Menominee Tribe ancestral remains return to the reservation

Menominee Tribe ancestral remains return to the reservation
Posted at 7:08 PM, Dec 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-15 07:11:33-05

KESHENA (NBC 26) — On the Menominee Reservation, tribal members are finally getting some closure after human remains were returned to the reservation.

“We brought back 23 remains, 18 from the Menominee River area,” said David Grignon, Menominee Tribal Preservation Officer.

Menominee Tribe ancestral remains return to the reservation

For decades, the Menominee remains had been stored at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

“They were excavated from the Riverside Cemetery in 1957,” said Grignon. “Some of the remains were from the Copper Culture and from the Menominee River area. It was important to note that some of these remains, of the Menominee people, have been there for thousands of years.”

Grignon explains that having these remains back on their land is important because it’s like having a piece of their identity back.

"They're important to us, the remains are because they're part of us. They're [our] ancestors, we are decedents of those remains that we brought back. It was important for the Menominee Nation to bring them home,” said Grignon.

Tribal leaders share that in their beliefs when a Menominee burial site is excavated the spirits are disturbed and their journey has been interrupted.

"I have a personal experience. One of my grandfathers in my lineage had been disturbed or removed from his grave site along the northern border of Lake Winnebago. So to me, having had that happen was not only disturbing to me and my relatives but me as well,” said Ronald Corn Sr., Menominee Tribal Chairman.

In a ceremony last month, tribal members honored their ancestors and reburied them on their land.

“It’s a place where they are left alone. Even Menominees don't go back. We are supposed to leave burial sites alone,” said Grignon.

Menominee Tribe ancestral remains return to the reservation

The Menominee tribe began the process of retrieving the remains back in 2011 under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

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