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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Colorado Laws

Regarding Indian Burials, the "Update of Compilation of State Repatriation, Reburial and Grave Protection Laws (July 1997)" refers to Colorado Statute 24-80-401. See 24-80-1301 through 24-80-1302 for laws pertaining to unmarked graves and human remains.

Summaries follow of burial/archaeological laws yielded through a keyword search for "archaeology" and "burial" on 2001 March 30 at the State Historic Preservation Legislation Database found at the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) web site, that database then updated through 1999. These summaries are reprinted under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law which may be found at www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html

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


Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 18-4-509
Section Title: Defacing property

Summary:

(1) Declares that any person who destroys, defaces, removes or damages any historical monument commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 401
Section Title: Historical, prehistorical and archeological resources: title to historical, prehistorical and archeological resources

Summary:

Reserves title for the state to all historical, prehistorical and archeological resources in all lands, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and other areas owned by the state or any county, city and county, city, town, district or other political subdivision, to include all deposits, structures or objects which provide information pertaining to the historical or prehistorical culture of people within the boundaries of the state, as well as rights-of-way access on state-owned land from a maintained public road for the exploration, protection, preservation, interpretation and enhancement of the site or deposit proper.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Curation / Ownership of Artifacts

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 403 through 24-80-405
Section Title: Historical, prehistorical and archeological resources: state archeologist--purpose; appointment; qualifications; objectives and duties

Summary:

Establishes the office of state archeologist within the department of higher education of the Colorado Historical Society for the purpose of coordinating, encouraging and preserving by the use of appropriate means the full understanding of the state's archeological resources. Directs the board of directors of the Colorado Historical Society to appoint a state archeologist. Directs the state archeologist to undertake the following duties: (a) assist, consult with and advise state and local governmental agencies and private persons on archeological problems; (b) promote development of archeological resources for educational purposes; (c) conduct studies to develop archeological information; (d) inventory and analyze the state's archeological resources; (e) collect and preserve archeological resources; (f) advise the state and act as liaison agency in transactions dealing with archeological resources between state agencies and other agencies or states and between state agencies and the federal government; (g) issue permits for the conduct of archeological studies; (h) arrange for the care, use and storage of any archeological resources collected; (i) prepare, publish and distribute reports, maps and bulletins; (j) accept, use, disburse and administer, through the Department of Personnel, all federal funds or other property, services and monies allotted for the state archeologist; (k) implement a program of salvage archeology, which shall include surveys and either the salvage or the preservation of sites or antiquities imperiled by construction or other earth-movement projects; and (l) establish a procedure by which a historical, prehistorical or archeological resource belonging to the state may be removed from Colorado on a loan basis, subject to its return pursuant to a permit under 24-80-406.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Curation / Ownership of Artifacts
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 406
Section Title: Historical, prehistorical and archeological resources: permits

Summary:

Directs the Colorado Historical Society to issue or deny permits for the investigation, excavation, gathering or removal from the natural state of any historical, prehistorical and archeological resources within the state and determine whether or not the applicants for such permits are duly qualified to conduct investigations. Directs that such permits shall carry the following stipulations: (a) investigations, excavations, gatherings and removals shall be undertaken only for the benefit of reputable museums, universities or other recognized scientific or educational institutions and shall be conducted for permanent preservation, either on the site or in museums, open to the public and available to qualified students; (b) permit holders shall provide the state archeologist with annual progress reports and a final report within three years after termination of field work; (c ) an inventory of all materials recovered during the course of the permitted activity shall be supplied to the state archeologist; (d) the state archeologist may require that a representative collection of the materials recovered shall be delivered to the state to a repository determined by the state archeologist; (e) any permit may be revoked by the Colorado Historical Society if there is evidence that the activity authorized by the permit is being unlawfully or improperly conducted or if the permit holder does not honor the conditions of the permit and all recovered materials, maps, field notes and other records shall be surrendered immediately to the society upon such revocation.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 409
Section Title: Historical, prehistorical and archeological resources: penalty - - injunction - - temporary restraining order

Summary:

(1) Declares that any person who knowingly appropriates, excavates, injures or destroys any historical, prehistorical or archeological resource on public land owned by the state or any county, city and county, city, town, district or other political subdivision without a valid permit is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 30 days, or both. Directs that all articles and materials illegally taken and all moneys and materials derived from the sale or trade of the same shall be forfeited to the Colorado Historical Society. (2) Enables the society to apply for and obtain, in an action in any district court of the state, a temporary restraining order or injunction, or both, against a person whom the society has cause to believe has engaged in or is engaging in any unlawful conduct as defined in subsection 1.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 411
Section Title: Historical, prehistorical and archeological resources: applicability of this part 4 to human remains

Summary:

Directs that the treatment of human remains is governed by both Part 4 (24-80-401 through 24-80-411) and Part 13 (24-80-1301 through 24-80-1305) of this article, with Part 13 controlling in case of conflict between said parts.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 1302
Section Title: Unmarked human remains: discovery of human remains

Summary:

Requires any person who discovers or knowingly disturbs suspected human skeletal remains on any land in the state, except in regard to anthropological investigations under 24-80-1303, to notify the coroner in the county where the remains are located. Directs the coroner to notify the state archeologist if the coroner determines such remains to be of no forensic value. Directs the state archeologist to cause such human remains to be examined by a qualified archeologist, who shall hold a permit issued by the Colorado Historical Society, to determine whether the human remains are more than one hundred years old and to evaluate the integrity of their archeological content. Directs the state archeologist to notify the Commission on Indian Affairs if the on-site inquiry discloses that the human remains are native American. Directs that the remains shall be disinterred unless the landowner, the state archeologist, and the chairman of the Commission agree to leave the remains in situ. Requires that any disinterment shall be accomplished in no less than ten days after the state archeologist has received notification from the coroner. Directs that the archeologist who conducts the disinterment will assume temporary custody of the human remains for a period not to exceed one year, for the purpose of study and analysis.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 1303
Section Title: Unmarked human remains: discovery of human remains during an anthropological investigation

Summary:

Requires an anthropologist conducting an investigation in which it is probable that human skeletal remains will be discovered to apply first to the state archeologist for an excavation permit issued under 24-80-405. Directs an anthropologist acting under such a permit to determine the age and cultural affiliation of any human skeletal remains discovered during such an investigation. Exempts such an anthropologist from the requirement to notify the county coroner when human skeletal remains are discovered if the anthropologist can determine that the skeletal remains are more than one hundred years old. Directs the anthropologist to notify the state archeologist if the skeletal remains are determined to be those of a Native American or the Colorado State Anatomical Board if the remains are of a non-native American. Directs the state archeologist to notify the Commission of Indian Affairs and to proceed in accordance with 24-80-1302.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Colorado Revised Statutes
Citation: 24-80- 1305
Section Title: Unmarked human remains: violation and penalty

Summary:

Declares that any person who knowingly disturbs an unmarked human burial in violation of this part commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in 18-1-106. Declares that any person who has knowledge that an unmarked human burial is being unlawfully disturbed and fails to notify the local law enforcement agency commits a class 2 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in 18-1-106.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement



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Colorado government, preservation and state archaeological resource links.



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