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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

New York Laws

When contacted on New York burial ground law, The New York State Archaeologist, Robert D. Kuhn, obligingly mailed the following:

18a. Indian cemetery or burial grounds

The office or parks and recreation shall have the power to designate any Indian cemetery or burial ground as a place of historic interest pursuant to subdivision one of section 3.09 of the parks and recreation law provided, however, that each cemetery or burial ground is not located upon any Indian reservation located wholly or partly within the state. No person shall destroy, alter, convert, or in any way impair any such cemetery or burial ground which has been so designated as a place of historic interest or any artifact or other object thereon which is or may be of relevance to the historic interest thereof without the prior express written permission of the office of parks and recreation.

The attorney general, at the request of the office of parks and recreation, is hereby authorized to institute an action in supreme court in the judicial destrict wherein such cemetery or burial ground is located to enjoin violations or threatened violations of this section.

Added L. 1971, c. 1195, 2; amended L. 1974, c. 460, 1.

1974 Amendment. L 1974, c. 460 1. off. May 23, 1974, substituted "office of parks and recreation shall" for "New York state historic trust shall", "subdivision one of section 3.09 of the parks and recreation" for "section eight hundred thirty-one of the conservation", "of the office of parks and recreation" for "of the board of trustees of the historic trust", and "attorney general at the request of the office of parks and recreation" for "board of trustees of the historic trust."

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 is not responsible for any inaccuracies or timeliness of information.

Code Book: New York Education Law
Citation: 233
Section Title: State Museum


Directs the commissioner of Education to make agreements with state agencies relating to the salvage of archeological and paleontological objects under the terms of the Federal Highway Act of 1956 (70 Stat. 374). Prohibits any person from appropriating, excavating, injuring or destroying any object of archeological or paleontological interest situated on or under state lands, without the written permission of the commissioner. Permits heads of state agencies to grant permits to persons authorized by the commissioner to examine, excavate or gather archeological or paleontological objects on lands under the agencies' jurisdictions for the purposes of the state museum or state science service.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

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