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Ancient remains of 26 Indigenous people to be returned to Arizona and New Mexico tribes

File image: Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, NM
Wagons loaded with wood in front of Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico, c. 1912. Photo by Jesse Nusbaum, Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA. Neg. #061543)

The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture plans to return the ancient remains of more than two dozen Indigenous people to local tribes.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the bone fragments were unearthed in downtown Santa Fe underneath the Palace of the Governors. The remains are those of adults, teens, young children and infants. They were found during excavations conducted between 1962 and 1975.

The remains were assessed and inventoried by the museum and will be returned to several New Mexico and Arizona tribes, including the Hopi, Ohkay Owingeh, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Tesuque and Santo Domingo.

Experts believe the remains likely belonged to people who occupied the place after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and that they probably died of natural causes and were placed in traditional burial pits.

The National Park Service on Thursday published a notice in the Federal Register about the project.