FR Doc E9-10541[Federal Register: May 7, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 87)]
[Notices]               
[Page 21389-21390]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07my09-83]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service
 
Notice of Inventory Completion: Virginia Department of 
Conservation and Recreation, Division of State Parks, Richmond, VA and 
Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Big Stone Gap, VA

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.
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    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3003, of the 
completion of an inventory of human remains and associated funerary 
objects in the control of the Virginia Department of Conservation and 
Recreation, Division of State Parks, Richmond, VA, and in the 
possession of the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park, Big 
Stone Gap, VA. The human remains and associated funerary objects were 
removed from caves in Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties, VA.
    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003 (d)(3). 
The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the 
museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native 
American human remains and associated funerary objects. The National 
Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.
    A detailed assessment of the human remains was made by Virginia 
Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Historic 
Resources professional staff in consultation with representatives of 
the Federally-recognized Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; 
Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North 
Carolina; Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma; 
and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma. The Virginia 
Department of Conservation and Recreation and Virginia Historic 
Resources professional staff also consulted with representatives of the 
following non-Federally recognized Indian groups: Chickahominy Tribe, 
Eastern Chickahominy Tribe, Mattaponi Tribe, Monacan Indian Tribe, 
Nansemond Tribe, Pamunkey Tribe, Rappahannock Tribe, and Upper 
Mattaponi Tribe.
    At unknown dates, human remains representing a minimum of three 
individuals were removed from various caves in Lee, Scott, and Wise 
Counties, VA. According to records of the Southwest Virginia Museum 
Historical State Park, portions of the human remains have possible 
donation records of 2/7/58, 8/11/53, or 6/23/70, and may have been 
removed during those times. No known individuals were identified. The 
nine associated funerary objects are one possible trade item made with 
glass trade beads, three effigy pipes, one Catlinite pipe, two bird 
figures, one pot, and one steatite.
    At an unknown date, human remains representing a minimum of one 
individual were removed from a burial cave in Lee County, VA. No known 
individual was identified. No associated funerary objects are present.
    While scientific dating of the human remains was not possible, 
similar osteological comparisons of prehistoric Native Americans from 
other mortuary caves in southwest Virginia reveal through radiocarbon 
dates and artifact evidence that the predominant use of mortuary caves 
in the region was between circa A.D. 900-1400. Caves used as mortuary 
facilities for prehistoric Native Americans are known throughout the 
southeastern United States, and have been commonly documented in the 
far upper reaches of the Tennessee Valley drainage basin (far southwest 
Virginia). Mississippian sites of this type appeared almost 
simultaneously throughout the Southeast around A.D. 850, and were 
mainly located within river floodplain environments. Archeological 
scholarship traces Cherokee beginnings back to, at least, the beginning 
of the Mississippian Period. Many scholars refer to the Cherokee 
evolving out of the Mississippian tradition in the southern 
Appalachians to have maintained a continuity of material culture.
    In the 1500s, Spanish explorers found a flourishing Cherokee 
culture that dominated the southern Appalachians. The Cherokees 
controlled some 140,000 square miles throughout eight present-day 
southern states, including the counties of southwest Virginia. Further 
historical evidence of Cherokee territorial control of this area, in 
modern times, is reflected in the Watauga Treaty of 1775, in which the 
Cherokee sold the area of present-day southwest Virginia, Tennessee, 
and Kentucky to Richard Henderson to form the new colony of 
Transylvania. Both the Cherokee tribe and the colony of Virginia later 
opposed this land purchase. Today, the rich history and culture of the 
Cherokee are interpreted at sites and events throughout the region. 
Regional history books document Cherokee history and many individuals 
speak of their Cherokee ancestry. Descendants of the

[[Page 21390]]

Cherokee are members of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Eastern Band of 
Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; and United Keetoowah Band of 
Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.
    Officials of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation 
and Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park have determined 
that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (9-10), the human remains described 
above represent the physical remains of at least four individuals of 
Native American ancestry. Officials of the Virginia Department of 
Conservation and Recreation and Southwest Virginia Museum Historical 
State Park also have determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 
(3)(A), the nine objects described above are reasonably believed to 
have been place with or near individual human remains at the time of 
death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony. Lastly, officials 
of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Southwest 
Virginia Museum Historical State Park also have determined that, 
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (2), there is a relationship of shared group 
identity that can be reasonably traced between the Native American 
human remains and associated funerary objects and the Cherokee Nation, 
Oklahoma; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; and 
United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the human remains and associated funerary 
objects should contact Sharon Ewing, Virginia Department of 
Conservation and Recreation/Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State 
Park, P.O. Box 742, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219, telephone (276) 523-1322, 
before June 8, 2009. Repatriation of the human remains and associated 
funerary objects to the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Eastern Band of 
Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; and/or United Keetoowah Band of 
Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma may proceed after that date if no 
additional claimants come forward.
    The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation is 
responsible for notifying the Federally-recognized Absentee-Shawnee 
Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma; Eastern Band 
of Cherokee Indians of North Carolina; Eastern Shawnee Tribe of 
Oklahoma; Shawnee Tribe, Oklahoma; and United Keetoowah Band of 
Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, that this notice has been published. The 
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will also notify the 
following non-Federally recognized Indian groups: Chickahominy Tribe, 
Eastern Chickahominy Tribe, Mattaponi Tribe, Monacan Indian Tribe, 
Nansemond Tribe, Pamunkey Tribe, Rappahannock Tribe, and Upper 
Mattaponi Tribe.

    Dated: April 22, 2009.
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E9-10541 Filed 5-6-09; 8:45 am]

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