News Release

Preserving the Dignity of Those Who Went Before

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Date: July 26, 2018
Contact: David Barland-Liles, 563-873-3491 ext 111

Effigy Mounds News Release
Release Date:     Immediate
Date:     July 16, 2018

Preserving the Dignity of Those Who Went Before
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and Effigy Mounds National Monument
Are your deceased relatives artifacts?  The disposition and burial of deceased humans is something people have created traditions and ceremonies around since the beginning of human history.  But what happens when remains from the past are dug up?  How are they regarded and who determines their fate?  Saturday, July 28, 2018 Effigy Mounds National Monument will host a special evening program and discussion on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and how excavated American Indian remains have been treated in the park.  The program will take place from 7:00pm – 8:00pm in the Effigy Mounds National Monument Visitor Center, located at 151 Highway 76, Harpers Ferry, IA.
Established in 1949, Effigy Mounds National Monument preserves and protects over 200 ancient burial mounds that are held sacred by numerous affiliated tribes.  To our tribal partners the people buried in the mounds are relatives and their final resting place a sacred site for reflection, prayer and connection to family and community.  Starting with the inception of the monument right up until the early 1970’s archeologists actively excavated mounds, removing burial items and the remains of people.  These excavations caused harm to those who regard these people as relatives.  Here at Effigy Mounds National Monument, we no longer excavate mounds. But as a result of what happened in the past, the remains of 41 people temporarily exist in the park’s collection today.  
Over time the science of archeology as well as the ethic of how we treat human remains has evolved and changed.  The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was passed by the Congress in 1990 with the intent of giving American Indian tribes claim over the remains of their ancestors.  This law has had a profound effect on Effigy Mounds National Monument and how we manage and deal with our collections.  The remains of the 41 people in the park’s collection are slated for repatriation and reburial, but why they are still here and how we are preparing to return them to their final resting place will be the topic of discussion at this special evening program.  Further information on NAGPRA can be found at

Last updated: July 26, 2018

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Mailing Address:

151 Hwy 76
Harpers Ferry , IA 52146


(563) 873-3491 x123
Visitor Center front desk.

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