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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Arkansas Laws

Burial grounds are dealt with in Citation: Archaeological Resources (Arkansas Stat. Ann. 13-6-201 through 13-6-216 and 13-6-401 through 13-6-409), Date Enacted: 1991. Under this law, the state prohibits the desecration of human remains and associated artifacts in unmarked, unrecorded, abandoned or unregistered graves, burial grounds or cemeteries found on public or private land or water. It also prohibits trade or commercial display of remains or associated burial furniture. Anyone who knowingly or intentionally buys, sells, displays or desecrates burial remains is committing a Class A misdemeanor on the first offense and Class D felony on the second offense. Legally acquired artifacts and private collections are exempted for these provisions. When justified by "A State Plan for the Conservation of Archaeological Resources in Arkansas," the investigation, excavation, removal and analysis of human skeletal remains and burial furniture is permitted. If the remains are on private land, the landowner must consent prior to excavation. Upon discovery of human remains the archaeologist must notify the SHPO, who assists in determining appropriate tribes to include in the consultation process. Scientific studies are permitted only after consultation. If a tribal group recognized by the U.S. Government is determined to be directly related to the uncovered remains, the remains will be returned upon request. If no direct relation is identified, the Arkansas Archaeological Survey or state supported museum may serve as a repository for the skeletal remains for scientific research, the remains will be disposed of in accordance with existing laws, rules, and regulations for disposing of human remains.

State laws concerning archaeology are found here. Included is Act 82 of 1959 establishing a state program of archaeological research at UAF, Act 39 of 1967 establishing an Arkansas Archaeological Survey, Act 58 of 1967 which is the State Antiquities Act, Act 480 of 1977 which establishes the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, and Act 52 of 19089 which is the Arkansas Cave Protection Act.

The Grave Protection Act 753 of 1991 is found here. Grave Protection Act Ammendment 1533 of 1999 is found here.

Following are summaries of:
Citation: 13-6-201 through 13-6-216
Section Title: Arkansas Archeological Survey

Citation: 13-6-301 through 13-6-308
Section Title: Archeological sites

Citation: 13-6-401 through 13-6-409
Section Title: Human skeletal burial remains


Code Book: Arkansas Code
Citation: 13-6-201 through 13-6-216
Section Title: Arkansas Archeological Survey

Summary:

Establishes the Arkansas Archeological Survey at the University of Arkansas to initiate, operate and maintain a program in archeology which shall undertake the following activities: excavation of archeological and historical sites, ruins and mounds for the purpose of securing data and objects relating to early man in Arkansas; fundamental research in archeology and encouragement of public cooperation in the preservation of Arkansas antiquities; research in and study of anthropology, soil, geology and related social and physical sciences to plan and aid in discovery of sites and artifacts and their proper assessment after discovery; publication of findings; display and custodianship of relics, artifacts and sites; and educational activities and encouragement of archeological societies, parks and museums. Directs the president of the University of Arkansas to appoint both a director of the Survey and a state archeologist. Directs all state and local entities to cooperate with the Survey in order to give a statewide focus to the program. Authorizes the University of Arkansas to cooperate and contract with individuals and state and federal agencies in surveying and excavating archeological sites. Directs the State Highway Commission to enter into appropriate contracts and cooperative agreements with the University of Arkansas and the Federal Highway Administration and to extend state and federal funds in aid of archeological salvage and archeological preservation on all or any part of the land and rights-of-way under its control. Authorizes the president of the University of Arkansas to accept grants, bequests, devises, gifts and donations and to hold title to interests in land for purposes of a state program in archeological research. Directs the Survey to serve as the repository for copies of all archeological field notes, photographs and publications obtained through the use of state funds. Directs that all archeological objects found through the efforts of the Survey shall be deposited at the University of Arkansas Museum or a cooperating institution of higher learning. Directs that all artifacts, fossils, relics and other personal property discovered, donated or otherwise acquired through efforts of the survey shall be the property of the state held in trust by the University of Arkansas, which shall, to the extent possible, make these items available for scientific use or public display by appropriate public bodies at places throughout the state. Requests the Arkansas Archeological Society to review and evaluate the programs and activities of the Survey annually.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Arkansas Code
Citation: 13-6-301 through 13-6-308
Section Title: Archeological sites

Summary:

Reserves for the state the exclusive right and privilege of field archeology on sites owned or controlled by the state, its agencies, departments and institutions. Directs that all information and objects derived from state lands shall be used solely for scientific or public educational purposes and shall remain the property of the state. Discourages field archeology on private lands, except in accordance with the spirit of this subchapter. Encourages persons having knowledge of the location of archeological sites to inform the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Directs all state agencies, departments, institutions and commissions, as well as all counties and municipalities, to notify the Survey regarding archeological sites and artifacts discovered on publicly owned or controlled lands, to cooperate to the fullest extent practicable with the Survey to preserve and prevent the destruction of such sites or artifacts, and to allow the Survey to assist in and effect the removal of artifacts by means designed to permit their preservation, study and evaluation. Requires that contractors be informed of these provisions by the contracting agency. Directs the commissioner of State Lands, upon designation by the Survey, to reserve from sale any state lands on which sites or artifacts are located or may be found until such time as the sites or artifacts have been explored, excavated or otherwise examined to the extent desired by the Survey. Authorizes the Survey to designate any archeological site of significance to the study or representation of Arkansas aboriginal past as a state archeological landmark, with the express written consent of either the state agency having jurisdiction over the land in question or of the private land owner. Declares it to be a misdemeanor for any person other than the Survey or their designated agents to excavate or recover artifacts from sites designated as state archeological landmark. Declares it to be an act of trespass and a misdemeanor for any person to remove artifacts and antiquities from private land without first obtaining the permission of the owner. Declares it to be a misdemeanor for any person to write upon, carve upon, paint, deface, mutilate, destroy or otherwise injure any objects of antiquity, artifacts, Indian painting or sites located on state owned or controlled land. Declares that any person found guilty of a misdemeanor relating to this chapter shall be punished by a fine not less than $50 or more than $500, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than one month or more than six months, or both.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

The Grave Protection Act 753 of 1991 is found here. Grave Protection Act Ammendment 1533 of 1999 is found here.

Code Book: Arkansas Code
Citation: 13-6-401 through 13-6-409
Section Title: Human skeletal burial remains Date enacted: 1991

Summary:

Declares that all human burials and skeletal remains found on or in public or private lands or waters in the state shall be accorded equal treatment and respect without reference to their ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, religious affiliations, or date of burial. Declares that the public has a right to the knowledge to be derived from the scientific study of human skeletal burial remains and burial furniture. Authorizes the investigation, excavation, removal and analysis of human skeletal remains and burial furniture when justified by "A State Plan for the Conservation of Archeological Resources in Arkansas" as promulgated by the state archeologist and the state historic preservation officer. Requires such actions to be carried out with the consent of the land owner and in consultation with the appropriate tribe, if identifiable, and under the direction of archeologists employed by the state or the federal government or by archeologists meeting the U.S. Department of the Interior's professional qualification standards. Enables a direct descendant, a specific church or a Native American tribal group recognized by the U.S. government to request, upon exhumation of human skeletal remains for relocation, that such remains be conveyed to such an individual or group, if written or scientific documentation of such descent or of church or tribal affiliation is provided. Allows scientific studies on human skeletal remains to be undertaken after such consultation is undertaken. Directs that the Arkansas Archeological Survey, a state-supported museum or another accredited museum may serve as a repository for human skeletal burial remains that are unclaimed by descendants or by affiliated church or tribal groups. Declares it to be a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense for any person knowingly to buy, sell or barter human skeletal burial remains or associated burial furniture, and a Class D felony on subsequent offenses, except for artifacts as defined in this subchapter or those in private collections legally collected prior to July 15, 1991. Allows the collecting of artifacts by a landowner or others with the landowner's permission. Declares it to be a Class B misdemeanor for each day of offense for any person knowingly to display human skeletal burial remains for profit or to aid and abet a commercial enterprise. Declares it to be a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense for any person knowingly to desecrate or permit desecration of a burial ground and associated burial furniture, and a Class D felony on subsequent offenses, except by landowners or agricultural tenants as a consequence of agricultural activity.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement
Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues
    Secondary Topic:
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues
Jurisdiction: All public and private land or water.
Statute of Limitations: Not specified.
Areas Covered Under Act: All human remains and burial furniture.
Ownership: Remains are to be returned to the appropriate tribe or church, or the Arkansas Archaeological Survey or a state supported museum will assume charge.
Review/Consultation Committee: No review committee is established, but the SHPO must assist in identifying appropriate tribal groups for consultation.
Liable: Anyone who knowingly or intentionally buys, sells, displays or desecrates burial remains.
Penalties: First offends of buying or selling human remains or intentionally desecrates a burial ground are a Class A misdemeanor; all second offenses are a Class D felony. Displaying human remains for profit or aiding a commercial enterprise is a Class B misdemeanor, with each day of display a separate offense.
Exemptions: Legally acquired artifacts in private collections are exempt. Agricultural activities are exempt.
Permitting: The Arkansas Archaeological Survey issues permits to excavate.


Resources:

State Historic Preservation Legislation Database, keyword search for burial and archaeology 30 March 2001

Resource for blue text is the Update of Compilation of State Repatriation, Reburial and Grave Protection Laws (July 1997), Prepared for the Natural Resources Conservation Service under order number 40-3A75-7-102, by Kathleen Schamel for CEHP Incorporated P.O. Box 56462 Washington, DC 20040-6462 TEL: (202) 293-1774 FAX: (202) 722-1129

http://www.ibsgwatch.org is not responsible for any inaccuracies or timeliness of information.




Return to State laws
State Historic Preservation Legislation Database. Search by state and keywords for legislation.
Arkansas government, preservation and state archaeological resource links.



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