Moccasin Bend remains to be 'reverently reinterred'

Moccasin Bend remains to be 'reverently reinterred'

July 14th, 2011 by Pam Sohn in News

Workers with Choctaw Transportation continued to reinforce the inner bank of Moccasin Bend while another scoop of dirt is dumped on the shore. The work is meant to protect against erosion due to high water levels.

Photo by Jake Daniels /Times Free Press.

The American Indian remains found at Moccasin Bend will be reburied, according to an agreement reached Wednesday by U.S. Park Service officials and representatives of about seven federally recognized tribes.

Charles Coleman, a representative of the Creek Nation's Thlopthlocco Tribe, said the centuries-old remains will be "reverently reinterred in place" on Moccasin Bend.

Coleman, of Weleetka, Okla., said seven tribes agreed Wednesday to let the Eastern Band of Cherokees take the lead in the repatriation of the remains. That will take place a few days after the National Park Service has sent a letter detailing the plans to all of the tribes, including some unable to attend the meeting either in person or on telephone conference call.

Kent Cave, spokesman for the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, called the meeting "successful" and said the tribes were "all supportive not only of the project, but also of the plan that's been agreed to about how to deal with the Native American remains."

An archaeologist working with a contractor for the National Park Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during the Bend's riverbank stabilization project found one set of remains in mid-June in a bank washout after a strong storm. About a week later, he found another set of remains at what appeared to be a recently looted grave site.

Carl "Two Feathers" Whitaker, chief of the Native American Indian Movement, charged that the remains were uncovered by the project, but park officials emphatically deny the accusation.

Whitaker, who had threatened a protest if the remains were not reburied respectfully, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.