A current issue that seems to be prevalent between Native Americans and the American Federal government is who has the right to keep Native American remains and objects, such as bones, funerary objects, and other artifacts that were left behind by the ancestors of the current Native Americans. Many of these objects can be found throughout the United States in museums and universities, and still today archaeologists are digging up new artifacts of the Native Americans that lived in North America first. An issue that is an extremely hotly debated topic right now is what to do with the artifacts that were turned over to museums and other owners prior to the first legislation that forbid the turning over of such artifacts to anyone other than the descendents of the tribes themselves.
In one current issue that just happened last month, the Suquamish people of Washington State were given the remains of 11 of their ancestors, along with some funerary objects, and were able to rebury them in the traditions of their people in their own burial ground. These objects had been discovered in an archaeological dig in the 1950’s and given to the Burke Museum, and just last month were given back to the Suquamish under the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.This act was a piece of legislation that was fought for by Native Americans and their supporters for many years because they feel that the bones and other objects of their ancestors belong solely to themselves and should not be sitting in museums. Because of this act, many Native Americans will receive the remains of their ancestors and be able to give them the traditional burial that they still believe in.