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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Maine Laws

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: Maine Revised Statute
Citation: Health - - General Article, §4-215
Section Title: Burial permits, final disposition, transportation and disinterment

Summary:

(4) Prohibits the Department of Health from disclosing or allowing public inspection of information in a burial-transit permit record about the location of the site of a disinterment or reinterment if a local burial sites advisory board or the director of the Maryland Historic Trust determines that the site is historic property as defined in Art. 83B, §5-601, or that disclosure would create a substantial risk of harm, theft, or destruction to the site.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains
Primary Topic: Restricted / Confidential Information
    Secondary Topic:
    • [No secondary topics.]
Primary Topic: State Agencies / Institutions
    Secondary Topic:
    • Health

Code Book: Maine Revised Statutes
Citation: Title 13 §1371-A through §1373
Section Title: Limitations on construction and excavation near burial sites

Summary:

Directs that construction or excavation in the area of a known burial site or within the boundaries of an established graveyard must comply with any applicable land use ordinance concerning burial sites or graveyards, whether or not the burial site or graveyard is properly recorded in a deed to a property. Prohibits, in the absence of a local ordinance, construction or excavation being conducted within twenty-five feet of a known burial site or within twenty-five feet of the boundaries of an established graveyard whether or not the burial site or graveyard is properly recorded in a deed, except when the construction or excavation is performed pursuant to a lawful order or permit allowing the relocation of bodies or when necessary for the construction of a public improvement, as approved by the governing body of a city or town, or in the case of a state highway, by the commissioner of transportation. Requires a person to notify the local code enforcement official if that person has knowledge that excavation or other construction activity may disturb or is disturbing an undocumented burial site. Authorizes a code enforcement official, upon such notification, to issue a stop work order to the person or entity responsible for the activity that threatens to disturb the burial site. Requires the excavator or the land owner, before construction activity may continue, to notify the director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the president of any local historical society of the probable location of the burial site. Requires the excavator or the land owner to arrange, at that person's own expense, for appropriate investigation to determine the existence and location of graves. Allows construction activity to continue if human remains are discovered only in compliance with any applicable land use ordinances or if the construction is conducted beyond twenty-five feet from the burial site. Allows a municipality or county to contract with a cemetery association or historical society to undertake, complete and keep current an inventory of cemeteries and burial grounds located in the municipality or county. Enables a municipality to authorize a cemetery association or historical society to maintain any cemetery or burial ground owned, maintained or operated by the municipality.

Primary Topic: Specific Historic Property Types

    Secondary Topic:
    • Cemetery / Gravestone

Code Book: Maine Revised Statut Citation: Real Property Article, §14-121
Section Title: Burial sites: access

Summary:

(a)(2) Defines "burial site" as any natural or prepared physical location, whether originally located below, on or above the surface of the earth into which human remains or associated funerary objects are deposited as a part of a death rite or ceremony of any culture, religion or group, including the human remains and associated funerary objects that result from a shipwreck or accident and are intentionally left to remain at the site. (3) Defines “cultural affiliation” as a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced historically between a present-day group, tribe, band or clan and an identifiable earlier group. (4) Defines “person in interest” as a person who: (i) is related by blood or marriage to the person interred in a burial site; (ii) has a cultural affiliation with the person interred in a burial site; or (iii) has an interest in a burial site that the Office of the State's Attorney for the county where the burial site is located recognizes is in the public interest after consultation with a local burial sites advisory board or, if such a board does not exist, the Maryland Historical Trust. (b) Allows any person in interest to request the owner of a burial site or of the land encompassing a burial site that has been documented or recognized as a burial site by the public or any person in interest to grant reasonable access to the burial site for the purpose of restoring, maintaining or viewing the burial site. (c) Allows the person requesting access to a burial site to execute an agreement with the owner of the burial site or of the land encompassing the burial site to detail the terms of access and the responsibilities of the person entering onto private property. (d) Allows the person in interest, if burials are still taking place at a burial site, to request the owner of the land encompassing the burial site to grant reasonable access to the burial site for the purpose of transporting human remains to the burial site to inter the remains of a person for whose burial the site is dedicated, if access has not been provided in a covenant or deed of record describing the metes and bounds of the burial site. (e) Exempts the owner of land from liability for any damages in a civil action to a person who enters on the land for injury to person or property, except for willful or malicious acts or omissions. (f)(1) Allows an owner of a burial site, a person in interest or any other person to report the location of a burial site to the supervisor of assessments for a county, together with supporting documentation concerning the location and nature of the burial site. (2) Directs the supervisor of assessments for a county to note the presence of a burial site on a parcel on the county tax maps maintained under §2-213 of the Tax - Property Article.

Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues

    Secondary Topic:
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues
Primary Topic: Specific Historic Property Types
    Secondary Topic:
    • Cemetery / Gravestone
    • Shipwreck / Submerged Resource

Code Book: Maine Revised Statutes
Citation: Title 22 §2842-B
Section Title: Indian bones

Summary:

Requires, from October 3, 1973, and thereafter, that all Indian skeletons and bones that come into the possession of any person, state department or organization, whether public or private, must be transferred to appropriate Indian tribes in Maine for reburial. Directs that, prior to the time of transfer to the Indian tribes, any Indian bones or skeletons found may be subjected to scientific study by persons skilled in anthropology or archeology. Prohibits such studies to continue for longer than one year from the time of the bones' discovery, before the bones are transferred to the Indian tribe.

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: Acts and Resolves of Maine
Citation: Resolves 1999 Ch. 23
Section Title: Resolve to Prevent Tampering With Indian Archeological Sites

Summary:

Directs the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and representatives of the Penobscot Nation and the Passamaquoddy Tribe jointly to conduct a review of the threats to Native American archeological sites from looting and vandalism and to report their recommendations for implementing a monitoring or stewardship program for site protection and preservation. Requires the review also to involve the following law enforcement agencies: the Maine Warden Service, the Maine Forest Service, the Bureau of Marine Patrol and local and state law enforcement. Requires the review also to involve the Native American community and other interested parties. Directs the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to report to the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs by January 15, 2000, with their findings, recommendations and any necessary implementing legislation.

Primary Topic: Ethnic / Racial Historic Preservation Issues

    Secondary Topic:
    • Native American Burial and Other Preservation Issues



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