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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Louisiana Laws

View offsite text of Chapter 10-A. Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act or onsite text of 671 through 681 below.

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: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:671 through § 8:674
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act

Summary:

Declares that there is an immediate need to protect the graves of prehistoric and historic Indians, pioneers and Civil War and other soldiers' burial sites from persons engaged for personal or financial gain in the mining of such graves, to enable the proper archeological investigation and study when disturbance of a burial site is necessary or desirable and to assure that all human burial sites shall be accorded equal treatment, protection and respect for human dignity without reference to ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds or religious affiliations. Excludes from the provisions of this chapter a cemetery operated under the authority and regulation of the Louisiana Cemetery Board, or any recognized and maintained municipal, fraternal, religious or family cemetery; or the use of land for purposes of farming, cattle raising, timber growing and other similar surface uses that will not result in the disturbance of human skeletal remains through excavation or other activities.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues
    Secondary Topic:
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:675 through § 8:677
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board

Summary:

Creates the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board in the Office of Cultural Development, Division of Archeology, of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Directs that the board shall consist of seven members appointed by the governor, to include: a physical anthropologist appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Archeological Survey and Antiquities Commission; a professional archeologist or a professional cultural anthropologist from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Archeological Survey and Antiquities Commission; one member from an Indian tribe recognized by the state but not by the federal government appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Intertribal Council; one member from a federally recognized Indian tribe appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Intertribal Council; one member who is a non-Indian minority appointed from a list of three persons nominated by the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus; the director of the Division of Archeology; and the director of the Governor's Commission on Indian Affairs. Directs the board to undertake the following duties: implement and enforce the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act and adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement and enforce this chapter; consult with all interested parties on occasions of disturbance of unmarked burial sites to determine a proper course of action; institute civil proceedings seeking injunctive or other relief to restrain and to prevent violations of this chapter or rules administered by the board; institute civil proceedings seeking restitution, payment of costs or other monetary relief necessary to prevent, restore or repair damage to unmarked burial sites, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts from unmarked burial sites, or to retrieve human skeletal remains or burial artifacts removed in violation of this chapter; issue permits for the disinterment and scientific study of human skeletal remains and burial artifacts found in unmarked burial sites and adopt rules and regulations to provide for the issuance of emergency permits by the state archeologist; charge a permit fee not to exceed $100 for each permit; issue permits for the special exhibition of human skeletal remains from unmarked burial sites if the board determines that the remains are of exceptional scientific or cultural significance; and issue permits for the use of human skeletal remains which have been legally obtained from unmarked burial sites and are intended strictly for teaching purposes at accredited institutions of higher learning, including but not limited to nonpublic display of human skeletal remains. Authorizes the board to use civil damages recovered under this chapter to implement and enforce this chapter and to fund activities of the division in regard to restoration and protection of burial sites. Authorizes the board to revoke or suspend any permit issued under the provisions of this chapter upon a determination by the board that the holder of the permit has violated the provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations of the board, or has failed to insure that the personnel employed by the holder of the permit meet the professional or occupational standards determined by the board.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues
    Secondary Topic:
    • African American Historic Preservation Issues
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues
Primary Topic: State Historic Preservation Entities
    Secondary Topic:
    • Burial Sites Board / Commission

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:678
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act: unlawful acts

Summary:

Declares it to be unlawful for any person, entity or group to whom the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board has not issued a permit knowingly to: disturb an unmarked burial site or any human skeletal remains or burial artifacts in an unmarked burial site; buy, sell, barter, exchange, give, receive, possess, display, discard or destroy human skeletal remains from an unmarked burial site or burial artifacts; allow any person, entity or group access to an unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts for the purpose of disturbing them; or provide funds to or for any person, entity or group for the purpose of disturbing any unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts. Declares that each violation of this section shall be punishable upon conviction of a first offense by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, or upon conviction of subsequent offenses by imprisonment for not more than two years or a fine of not more than $10,000, or both, with each disturbance of an unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts constituting a separate offense. Allows any human skeletal remains or burial artifacts that come into the state from any foreign country or any other state or territory of the United States and are documented to have been obtained lawfully under the laws of the respective country, state or territory to be given, received, studied or displayed. Allows any human remains or burial artifacts that were lawfully acquired prior to January 1, 1992, to remain in the possession of and be displayed by the current holder.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:679
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act: civil remedies

Summary:

Authorizes the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board to institute civil proceedings seeking injunctive relief to restrain and prevent violations of this chapter or the laws or rules administered or enforced by the board. Authorizes the board to seek civil damages from any person who knowingly violates any provision of §8:678, including forfeiture of any and all equipment used in disturbing the unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts and recovery of costs associated with the following: cleaning, restoring, analyzing, accessioning and curating the recovered human skeletal remains or burial artifacts; protecting the unmarked burial site from further damage or in restoring the unmarked burial site to its original condition; recovery of data, and analyzing, publishing, accessioning and curating materials when the prohibited activity is so extensive as to preclude the restoration of the unmarked burial site; the reinterment of the human skeletal remains; and the determination and collection of civil damages. Authorizes the board to bring actions for injunctive relief or civil damages in either the district court for the parish of East Baton Rouge or in the district court where the unmarked burial site, the human skeletal remains or the burial artifacts are located. Directs the attorney general to represent the board in all matters pertaining to the administration or enforcement of this chapter, except in those matters in which the board has employed special counsel.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:680
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act: discovery of unmarked burials, human skeletal remains and burial artifacts

Summary:

Requires a person who knows or has reason to believe he or she has discovered an unmarked burial site or received human skeletal remains from an unmarked burial site to notify the local law enforcement agency where the site or remains are located within twenty-four hours of discovery. Requires a person who has reason to believe he or she has discovered or received burial artifacts to notify the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board through the Division of Archeology within seventy-two hours of the discovery. Declares that failure to give such notice is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $1,000. Requires that any action that may disturb the unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains or burial artifacts associated with the site shall cease immediately upon discovery and shall not resume until the board has issued a permit governing the disposition of the unmarked burial site, the human skeletal remains or the burial artifacts. Directs the board not to take longer than thirty days to decide on issuance of a permit without the written agreement of all parties. Directs the law enforcement agency that receives notice of an unmarked burial site or human skeletal remains to notify both the coroner of the parish where the site or remains are found and the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board through the Division of Archeology within two business days of any discovery unless circumstances indicate that the death or burial is less than fifty years old or that there is need for a criminal investigation or legal inquiry by the coroner. Directs that the board shall have jurisdiction over the site, human skeletal remains and the burial artifacts if the coroner finds that the unmarked burial site is over fifty years old and that there is no need for a legal inquiry by his office or for a criminal investigation.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: § 8:681
Section Title: Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Preservation Act: disposition of unmarked burial sites, human skeletal remains and burial artifacts

Summary:

Requires every reasonable effort to be made to restore an unmarked burial site and to avoid disturbing the human skeletal remains whenever an unmarked burial site, human skeletal remains from an unmarked burial site or burial artifacts are reported to the Louisiana Unmarked Human Burial Sites Board. Authorizes the board to issue a permit for scientific study if the board determines that the burial site has significant scientific value. Requires the owner's permission to allow relatives of the deceased or any other interested parties access to the site of an unmarked burial, even if the owner of the property agrees to leave the site undisturbed. Directs the board to make reasonable efforts to identify and locate persons who can establish direct kinship with or descent from the individual whose remains have been found. Directs the board to notify the appropriate tribe if the unmarked burial site or the human skeletal remains can be shown to have ethnic affinity with a living Native American tribe. Requires that control of the disposition of human skeletal remains that must be removed from an unmarked burial shall be in the following order: any direct relation or descendant, if the descendant takes responsibility for the reinterment; a Native American tribe, if the human skeletal remains can be shown to have ethnic affinity to a living tribe and the tribe takes responsibility for the reinterment; and the board, if no descendant or tribe can be determined or none is willing to take responsibility. Requires the cost of disinterment, reinterment or study of the human skeletal remains to be paid by the persons or parties who applied for the permit, if a permit has been issued. Requires the board, if the board must reinter the remains, to pay for the reinterment in the same manner as an indigent or pauper burial. Directs that all burial artifacts found in an unmarked burial site shall become the property of the state and the board shall be the custodian thereof, and that disposition of the burial artifacts shall be made by the board in accordance with its regulations. Authorizes the board to donate the burial artifacts to an educational institution, a public museum or a Native American tribe for display and study purposes. Prohibits the board or any recipient from selling the burial artifacts.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1603 through §41:1604
Section Title: Archeological Resources: Division of Archeology; state archeologist

Summary:

Creates the Division of Archeology in the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Creates the position of state archeologist, who shall serve as director of the division. Directs the division to promulgate reasonable rules and regulations concerning the recovery and study of historic and prehistoric archeological remains that relate to the inhabitants, prehistory, history, government or culture, in, on or under any of the lands belonging to the state, including the tidelands, submerged lands and the bed of the sea within the jurisdiction of the state. Includes in the definition of such remains: all prehistoric and historic American Indian or aboriginal campsites; dwellings, habitation sites, burial grounds and archeological sites of every character; all historic sites, objects and buildings; all sunken or abandoned ships and wrecks of the sea or rivers, or any part of the content thereof; all treasure embedded in the earth or underwater; and all maps, records, documents, books, artifacts and implements of culture that relate to such archeological remains. Directs the division also to undertake the following functions: maintain the state archeological site files; function as legal custodian for all archeological artifacts and objects of antiquity that have been recovered from state lands or donated from private lands, except those donated to the Louisiana State Museum or the Office of Parks; implement a program of activities that will make available to the public information about the historic and prehistoric resources of the state; serve as the archeological advisory source for all state agencies by assisting them in evaluating any potential impact of their projects on archeological resources; administer those portions of the National Historic Preservation Act relative to archeology; advise the secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and the state historic preservation officer on matters affecting archeology; administer an archeological grants program; and implement for the state the federal Abandoned Shipwrecks Act.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Underwater Archeological Activity
Primary Topic: State Historic Preservation Entities
    Secondary Topic:
    • State Archeologist / Archeology Program

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1610
Section Title: Archeological Resources: prohibited excavations

Summary:

Prohibits a person, without the consent of the owner, from entering or attempting to enter upon the lands of another with intent to injure, disfigure, remove, excavate, damage, take, dig into or destroy any sites or artifacts addressed by §41:1604.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1611
Section Title: Archeological Resources: public cooperation; private lands

Summary:

Encourages every individual to notify the Division of Archeology at least ninety days prior to knowingly disfiguring, removing, excavating, damaging, taking, digging into or destroying any prehistoric or historic archeological site, American Indian or aboriginal campsites, mounds, artifacts, burials, ruins, historic structures or other archeological remains located in or under any private land within the state and to allow professional supervision of such activities by the division.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Private Funds
    • Private Property

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1612
Section Title: Archeological Resources: injunctive relief

Summary:

Authorizes the attorney general, in the name of the state, or any citizen of the state to bring an action in any court of competent jurisdiction for restraining orders and injunctive relief to restrain and enjoin violations or threatened violations of this chapter regarding archeological resources and for the return of items taken in violation thereof. Requires that such actions shall be brought either in the parish of East Baton Rouge or in the parish in which the activity sought to be restrained is alleged to be taking place or from which the items were taken.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1613
Section Title: Archeological Resources: state cooperation

Summary:

Directs the chief administrative officers of all state agencies to cooperate with and assist the Division of Archeology, the secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and the attorney general in carrying out the purposes and intent of this chapter. Directs all state and local law enforcement agencies to assist in enforcing this chapter.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1614
Section Title: Archeological Resources: penalties

Summary:

Declares that a person is guilty of a misdemeanor who violates the provisions of this chapter regarding archeological resources and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both, with each day of continued violation constituting a separate offense.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Louisiana House of Representatives, Regular Session 1997
Citation: House Concurrent Resolution No. 47
Section Title: Ancient Mounds Heritage Area and Trails Advisory Commission

Summary:

Creates the Ancient Mounds Heritage Area and Trails Advisory Commission to be composed of: four members appointed by the governor who live in the northeast and central areas of the state and who have demonstrated a sincere interest in the subject; the assistant secretary of the Office of State Parks or a designee; the assistant secretary of the Office of Tourism or a designee; the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; the state archeologist; and the secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development or a designee. Declares that creation of the commission will facilitate and encourage voluntary participation of private landowners, local and state business leaders, local and state governmental officials, and archeologists to develop fully the potential of the Ancient Mounds Heritage Area and Trails as a cultural, recreational and educational attraction and to enhance the development of tourism in the state. Declares that creation of the commission will establish a means to identify the monumental archeological sites within the ancient mounds heritage area, recognize the significance of those sites and designate historic trails to link, interpret and enjoy the sites. Directs the commission to study, make recommendations and advise the governor and the legislature on appropriate measures with regard to the development of the Ancient Mounds Heritage Area and Trails as a cultural, recreational and educational attraction to help preserve Louisiana’s prehistoric patrimony and to understand the state’s heritage better in order to enhance the development of tourism.

Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues

    Secondary Topic:
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues

Code Book: Louisiana Revised Statutes
Citation: §41:1605.1
Section Title: Archeological Resources: Archeological Curation Fund

Summary:

(A) Creates the Archeological Curation Fund as a special fund in the state treasury. (B) Directs the treasurer to pay into the fund each year an amount equal to the monies received by the treasury from fees paid to the Division of Archeology pursuant to the provisions of L.R.S. 41:1608(B). Directs that all unexpended and unencumbered monies in the fund at the end of any fiscal year shall remain in the fund for use in subsequent fiscal years. Directs the treasurer to invest monies in the fund in the same manner as monies in the state general fund, and requires that interest earned on such investments shall be credited to the fund. (C) Authorizes monies in the fund to be withdrawn only pursuant to an appropriation by the legislature solely to implement the provisions of L.R.S. 41:1604, which section sets out the responsibilities of the Division of Archeology.

Primary Topic: Funding Sources for State or Local Preservation Program

    Secondary Topic:
    • State Archeology / Burial Sites Fund



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