“As Indian tribes, we are used to hundreds of years of injustice,
so it’s always a surprise when anything good happens.
We’ve been destroyed, annihilated…our existence dismissed.
Even our history is wiped away…
People aren’t taught about our native history at all.
A lot of times, we have so many generations of destruction,
when something like this happens we expect it to be that way.
When justice does happen, it’s just a miracle”
--Lance Foster, THPO, Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska
The Standard - Allamakee County
by Lissa Blake
What’s happened at Effigy Mounds over the past 28 years might sound more like the plot of a detective novel than the everyday operations of a National Monument. But after almost 30 years, guardians of the sacred place are in the process of righting a serious wrong.
According to David Barland-Liles, special agent for the National Park Service (NPS) and lead ranger at Effigy Mounds, the skeletal remains of 41 indigenous people, which were missing for 21 years, are being returned to their respective tribes for repatriation.
THE MISSING BONES
The story of the missing bones and how they were recovered involves many individuals who have worked at Effigy Mounds over the past three decades. Barland-Liles said he was working as a special agent for the NPS in St. Louis, MO in 2011 when the matter first came to his attention.
“Some tribal members have told me ‘the old ones’ chose me to find these people,” said Barland-Liles. “What happened here was the penultimate act of racism,” he said.
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