MDAH awarded National Park Service grant

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The National Park Service has awarded $88,822 to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to support efforts to return the Native American human remains in its archaeological collections to present-day Tribes. MDAH officials said the department will use the money to hire a new collections manager, provide paid internships for Tribal partners, purchase equipment, and provide staff training.

The Chickasaw Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma supported the grant and will provide guidance as MDAH staff document the human remains and ceremonial objects from graves in northeast Mississippi. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) requires consultation with Tribes whose ancestors lived on the land where graves were located.

“One of the department’s highest priorities is the proper care of its significant archaeological collection,” said MDAH director Katie Blount. “In keeping with our standards of excellence, we are embarking on this project with renewed dedication to collaborating with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Chickasaw Nation while becoming fully compliant with NAGPRA.”

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