Via Native News Online, March 30, 2023
Dartmouth College has unknowingly been using the bones belonging to Native American ancestors to teach with as recently as fall 2022, the college announced this week.
The discovery came about during an internal collections review between the anthropology department and the school’s Hood Museum of Art in November 2022. Museum staff realized that acquisition numbers for the human remains documented in their collection for eventual return matched numbers cataloged by the anthropology department, where at least 23 individuals—and as many as 123—were used as teaching materials for classes on bones.
In some cases, the bones of individual Native American ancestors were split between the department and the Hood museum. At least three individuals had already been returned to their tribal nations in the late 1990s.
College faculty are unclear about how the ancestors came to the anthropology department because documentation is limited or nonexistent over the university’s two-and-a-half century history, according to Jerry DeSilva, Dartmouth’s Chair of Anthropology.