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Burial-site preservation begun
Aug.25, 2002

NORTON, Kan. (AP) -- A federal agency has begun preservation work at a site that is believed to be an American Indian burial ground.

The Bureau of Reclamation took over security Aug. 6 at the site at the Sebelius Reservoir in north-central Kansas.

Human remains were found there July 20. After an investigation by the Norton County Sheriff's Department ruled out foul play, the remains were turned over to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Bill Chada, bureau area archaeologist based in Grand Island, Neb., said that the site where the remains were found will not be disclosed. It is under 24-hour surveillance to keep the integrity of the site intact and in accord with federal law that governs such sites.

Chada has turned down media requests to view the site.

Chada said the bureau continues to consult with 10 Indian tribes that might have used the site as a burial ground and that an action plan is being developed.

The 10 tribes involved include the Arapaho Tribe of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming and the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota.

One of the tribes has asked that no photographic coverage or public visitation be allowed.

Chada said, "The site is very vulnerable, and we are in the middle of the process."

The process is expected to be complete by mid- to late September, he said.

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