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Finnish Government Agrees To Return Objects And Remains Taken From Southwest In 1890s

tripadvisor.com

The government of Finland has agreed to return Native American remains and funerary objects more than a century after they were taken from the Southwest. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, the agreement follows years of talks between tribal, U.S. and Finnish officials.

The objects were taken from what’s now Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado in the 1890s during a Swedish archaeological excavation. More than 600 items including the remains of 20 individuals and 28 funerary objects ended up in the ethnographic collection of the National Museum of Finland.

In 2016, representatives from more than two dozen tribes associated with Mesa Verde worked with the museum to identify the remains and objects for repatriation. The U.S. State and Interior departments assisted during the process and will help with transferring the items back to the tribes.

Mesa Verde’s stone cliff-dwellings were home to Ancestral Puebloan people until about 1300 C.E. Today, 26 tribes have historical and cultural connections with the area, including the Navajo and Hopi, as well as 19 Pueblos in New Mexico.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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