Tribes, ODOT oversee reburial of remains

Photo Oregon Department of Transportation

Pictured from left to right are Kirsten Anderson, Oregon Department of Transportation; Chuck Howe, ODOT; Evaline Patt, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation; Hal Gard, ODOT; Dorothy Simtustus, Warm Springs Tribes; Gerald Reed, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians Reservation; Jackie Simtustus, Warm Springs Tribes; Armand Minthorn, CTUIR; Fermore Craig, CTUIR; and Toni Clark, Long Creek resident.

LONG CREEK - This year, Oregon Department of Transportation employees participated in the reburial of human remains that have been in the possession of the University of Oregon for the past 30 years. The reburial took place in May; ODOT issued an announcement regarding this ceremony Aug. 8.

In 1972, road construction unearthed an Indian burial site near Long Creek, ODOT reported. The remains were returned and reburied near the original burial site by members of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians Reservation, ODOT and others.

"I helped foster the agreement with the landowner of the reburial site," said Chuck Howe, ODOT Region 5 environmental coordinator, regarding his initial involvement. During the event, Howe said that everyone helped dig the new burial site and witness the reburial ceremony. "Returning him to the ground was the right thing to do," Howe said. "It was a rare experience, and I was honored to be able to participate."

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