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The Law and American Indian Grave Protection

Oklahoma 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: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.1
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: buying, selling or bartering for profit of human skeletal remains or associated burial furniture--felony

Summary:

Declares a person to be guilty of a felony who shall knowingly buy, sell or barter for profit human skeletal remains or associated burial furniture previously buried within the state of Oklahoma.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.2
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: certain institutions and museums to consult tribal leaders or certain state entities before disposition of remains

Summary:

Directs accredited educational institutions or officially designated institutions or museums as provided by Title 53 361 that shall come into possession or knowledge of human skeletal remains or associated burial furniture from the state to consult if possible with tribal leaders, designated by the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission, regarding the final disposition of such remains prior to any activities related to scientific or educational purposes. Allows such consultation to take place with the state historic preservation officer, the state archeologist and the director of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History if direct ties to existing tribal groups cannot be established.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.3
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: display of open burial ground, furniture or skeletal remains for profit or commercial enterprise

Summary:

Declares a person to be guilty of a misdemeanor who shall knowingly display for profit an open burial ground, burial furniture or human skeletal remains previously buried in Oklahoma or who shall aid and abet a commercial enterprise to do so. Considers each day of continued violation to be a separate offense.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.4
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: discovery; reporting and notification procedure

Summary:

(A) Requires all persons who encounter or discover human skeletal remains or burial furniture thought to be associated with human burials in or on the ground to cease immediately any activity that may cause further disturbance and to report the presence and location of such remains to an appropriate law enforcement officer. (B) Declares a person to be guilty of a misdemeanor who willfully fails to report the presence or discovery of human skeletal remains within 48 hours to an appropriate law enforcement officer in the county in which the remains are found. (C) Declares a person to be guilty of a felony who knowingly disturbs human skeletal remains or burial furniture other than a law enforcement officer, a registered mortician, a representative of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, a professional archeologist or physical anthropologist or other officials designated by law in performance of official duties. (D) Declares a person, other than those covered in subsection C, to be guilty of a felony if that person disturbs or permits disturbance of a burial ground with the intent to obtain human skeletal remains or burial furniture. (E) Directs a law enforcement officer who has been notified of such a discovery of human skeletal remains to notify promptly the land owner and the chief medical examiner. Requires the state archeologist and the state historic preservation officer to be notified within fifteen days if such remains are not associated with a crime. Directs the state archeologist to notify the state historic preservation officer if the remains and any burial furniture demonstrate or suggest a direct historical relationship to a tribal group and to consult with tribal leaders designated by the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission within fifteen days regarding any proposed treatment or scientific studies and final disposition of the materials.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.5
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: designation of repository for remains and furniture for scientific purposes

Summary:

Authorizes the state archeologist and the state historic preservation officer, with the director of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, to designate a repository for curation of any human skeletal remains and burial furniture for scientific purposes that are not directly related to a tribal group or are not claimed by the consulted entity.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.6
Section Title: Human skeletal remains: penalties

Summary:

Directs that any person convicted of a misdemeanor pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500, by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, or by both. Directs that any person convicted of a felony pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000, by imprisonment in the state penitentiary not exceeding two years, or by both.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 21 1168.7
Section Title: Federal and state agencies encountering burial grounds, human skeletal remains or burial furniture--reports--disposition

Summary:

(A) Requires any federal or state department or agency which, in the performance of its duties, discovers a burial ground, human skeletal remains or burial furniture, to cease immediately any activity that may cause further disturbance of the site and to report the presence and location of any skeletal remains to an appropriate law enforcement officer as required by 1168.1 through 1168.7 of this title and to comply with all other provisions of those sections. (B) Directs the state historic preservation officer to work with the director of the federal or state department or agency if it is determined that the burial ground, human skeletal remains or burial furniture is not directly related to a tribal group, until disposition of the burial ground, human skeletal remains or burial furniture has been completed to the satisfaction of the state historic preservation officer.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 53 2.1
Section Title: Historical preservation: violations--penalties

Summary:

Prohibits a person from willfully or knowingly breaking, breaking off, cracking, carving upon, writing or otherwise marking upon or in any manner damaging, destroying, mutilating, defacing, marring, taking or harming any historic or prehistoric site, building, object, artifact, fossil or material in, around or upon any historic site owned, operated, managed or under the control of or under an easement granted to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Declares that a person convicted of violating any of the provisions of the Oklahoma Historical Preservation Act shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by confinement in the county jail for not more than one year, or both.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Violation / Penalty / Enforcement

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 53 361 (A-B)
Section Title: Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act: anthropological and archeological projects--deposit of discoveries in museums

Summary:

Requires a person making an investigation, exploration or excavation of any prehistoric ruins, ancient burial grounds, pictographs, petroglyphs, prehistoric specimens, utensils, trinkets or any other archeological discoveries in the state on state lands to donate all such articles collected to the state for deposit with a museum or other recognized repository in the state, within ninety days after the permit termination date as provided in 351 (F). Directs the state archeologist, in consultation with the state historic preservation officer, to study and evaluate the museums and institutions in the state and designate appropriate curatorial facilities. Requires all original field records, notes, photographs and other information collected, except for personal journals or diaries, or reasonable facsimiles thereof, to be housed in the same repository as the collections of artifacts and archeological materials unless otherwise specified in the permit or by the state archeologist or the state historic preservation officer. Requires that such collections of artifacts, archeological materials, field records, maps, notes, photographs and other information collected pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be made available for study, examination and appreciation, provided that such availability can be arranged without contributing to the degradation of the artifacts or other information and that such release of information is in the educational interest of citizens of the state. Authorizes a designated repository to charge a reasonable one-time fee of a permit holder to help defray the costs of providing long-term storage of the materials.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Curation / Ownership of Artifacts
    • Disposition of Human Remains

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 53 361 (C-H)
Section Title: Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act: anthropological and archeological projects--permits

Summary:

Requires a person to be issued a permit by the state archeologist of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey before any exploration or excavation is made in or on any prehistoric ruins or archeological site listed in the State Register of Historic Places or located on property owned by or under the control of the state or any of its political subdivisions. Requires a state agency, institution, company or individual who can show cause for having such a permit for the taking, salvage, excavation, restoration or conducting of scientific or educational studies to submit an application and a $50 fee to the state archeologist, who shall determine the appropriateness of the request. Directs the state archeologist to base such a determination on: the applicant's research design, the qualifications of the personnel involved; the location, nature of the activity and time period required for the work; and a signed statement from the land owner, or, for state lands, from the appropriate state agency, granting permission for access and removal of archeological or historic specimens. Requires the applicant to sign an agreement to donate specimens or materials in compliance with 351 (A) and to establish a one-time fee for long-term curation as provided in 351 (B). Allows a permit to be issued for one year and authorizes the state archeologist, in consultation with the state historic preservation officer, to revoke a permit at any time upon being convinced that archeological activities authorized by the permit are being conducted unlawfully or improperly. Requires a final report to be submitted to the state archeologist and the state historic preservation officer each within a reasonable time after the termination of the permitted project. Directs that fees collected under the provisions of this section shall be deposited in the revolving fund of the University of Oklahoma and shall be used for the payment of the expenses in making investigations and for the administrative costs of the state as set out in this section.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 53 361 (I-L)
Section Title: Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act: anthropological and archeological projects--prohibited acts; penalties

Summary:

Declares it to be unlawful for a person to offer for sale or to purchase any archeological specimen knowing the same to have been acquired in violation of the Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act. Requires a person in possession of articles or materials acquired in violation of this act to forfeit them to the state, pending return to their rightful owners. Declares it to be unlawful for any person: intentionally and knowingly to deface American Indian or aboriginal paintings, pictographs, petroglyphs or other marks or carvings on rock or elsewhere that are of archeological interest and pertain to early American Indian or aboriginal habitation of the country; willingly injure, disfigure, remove or destroy any archeological resources, including a prehistoric or historic structure, site, monument, marker, medallion, burial, burial marker or artifact without lawful authority as provided under this or related statutes; to enter onto the enclosed lands of another with the intent to injure, disfigure, remove, excavate, damage, take, dig into or destroy and archeological remains or any prehistoric or historic site, American Indian or aboriginal campsite, artifact, burial, ruin or other material wherever situated within the state without the consent of the owner. Declares that a person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall forfeit to the state for final disposition all articles and materials and related records wrongfully acquired through such action or efforts, and shall also be fined not more that $500, or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than thirty days, or both.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

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

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 53 361 (M)
Section Title: Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act: anthropological and archeological projects--excavations on private land

Summary:

Discourages archeological excavations on privately owned land except in accordance with and pursuant to the spirit and authority of the Oklahoma State Register of Historic Places Act. Encourages persons having knowledge of the location of archeological sites in the state to communicate such information to a reputable museum, institution of higher learning, a recognized scientific or historical institution or society or the Oklahoma Archeological Survey. Directs those institutions, societies or museums contacted with such information to inform the state archeologist of the Oklahoma Archeological Survey, so that the information may be recorded in the inventory of sites maintained for the state.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Private Funds
    • Private Property

Code Book: Oklahoma Statutes
Citation: Title 70 3309.1
Section Title: Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Summary:

(C) Declares the purpose of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, which is under the direction and supervision of the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma, to be to conduct scientific investigations to preserve and develop a greater understanding and appreciation of natural resources and human cultural heritage, including, but is not limited to, biological, ecological, paleontological and selected geological surveys, including in-depth archeological research, and ethnological analyses. Directs the museum to collect and maintain a depository of biological, archeological, paleontological and selected geological specimens and materials in sufficient numbers and quantities to provide within the state and region a base for research on, among other topics, (3) the distribution of prehistoric and historic archaeological sites. (D) Authorizes each institution, department, survey and agency in the state to preserve and maintain biological, archeological, paleontological or selected geological specimens collected as part of the normal research and monitoring duties of such institution, department, survey and agency. Allows each institution to elect to transfer to the museum specimens and collections in its possession that it no longer wishes to maintain or preserve, thus providing an instate repository for state collections that are no longer wanted by a state institution. (E) Enables the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History to accept, preserve, maintain, or dispose of these specimens and materials in a manner that makes each collection and its accompanying data available for research and use by the staff of the museum and by cooperating institutions, departments, surveys, agencies, and qualified independent researchers. (F) All such biological, archeological, paleontological and selected geological collections shall belong to the state with title vested in the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma. (G) The collections of the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History shall not only reflect the biological, cultural, paleontological and selected geological history of the state but may also include artifacts and specimens from throughout the world. (H) Requires the museum, in collecting or otherwise acquiring these collections, to comply with state laws and rules and except as otherwise provided by law, all federal laws and rules concerning wildlife, archeology and agriculture. Requires any permits issued by other state institutions, departments, surveys, and agencies for collecting such archeology to be granted for said museum for research, study or collecting efforts on state lands or within state jurisdiction if such collecting does not pose a significant threat to the survival of endangered wild species, habitats, or ecosystems.

Primary Topic: Archeological Activities

    Secondary Topic:
    • Permit / Site Investigation Authority



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Oklahoma government, preservation and state archaeological resource links.



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