Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Historic Preservation work shows perseverance and dedication

From the desk of Assistant Chief Gary Batton

March 2011

News was both sobering and exciting that the tribe was being allowed to repatriate over 120 remains from a burial site from the Natchez Trace, which is a National Parkway that covers parts of Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. After much consultation and collaboration with the federal entity and other tribes who could have possible connections to the remains, paperwork was signed between leaders of the National Park Service and the Choctaw Nation so that the funerary items and remains could be properly repatriated.

The Choctaw Nation has been active in NAGPRA (Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act) since it was legislated in 1990. In the late ‘90s we opened a Historic Preservation office, now led by Director Terry Cole and Archaeologist Ian Thompson, along with a fine staff of other dedicated personnel. They have consulted with museums and agencies across the United States to identify remains and when appropriate, repatriate and rebury those remains. This recent action is a great example of some of the work that they have done over the years. I appreciate them very much for their commitment and perseverance.