BISMARCK, N.Y. (KFYR) – Federal authorities expect to return the body of a 13-year-old boy to his Native American tribe in South Dakota this fall, they said Friday. The announcement comes days after the tribe called for the swift return of a child who died at a federal boarding school for Native children in 1879.
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate wrote a letter this week to the head of the U.S. Army Cemetery Office, demanding that their efforts to repatriate the remains of Amos LaFromboise from the cemetery at Carlisle Barracks, a military facility in Pennsylvania, be repatriated.
A letter from three Native American Rights Fund lawyers to Army Cemeteries Executive Director Karen Durham-Aguilera describes the child as the son of one of the tribe’s most famous leaders, Chief Joseph LaFromboise, who signed the 1867 treaty that established their current boundaries. .
The Army Cemeteries Office emailed a statement saying Amos LaFromboise’s exhumation was approved a year ago, and the Army told the boy’s family and tribal chief last summer that his remains would be returned in 2023. His dismissal will be entirely at the discretion of the military. expenses, said the office.
“The Army currently plans to complete the removal of Amos this September, and the required Federal Register notice will be issued within the next 60 days,” the statement said.
The tribe says the military requires repatriation standards that are more demanding than federal Native American grave preservation and repatriation laws and requires a signed affidavit from the child’s next-of-kin, which could be difficult or impossible for 19th-century remains.
“Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate expected Amos to return home from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School,” they wrote, “to lead his people like his father and to be an example for future generations of tribal leaders.”
Attorneys for the tribe said Friday that their request to return Amos LaFromboy under the Native American Graves Preservation and Restitution Act is pending, and the tribe is ready to consider next steps.
Amos LaFromboise died 20 days after arriving at Carlisle the year the school opened. The tribe’s letter said the military had previously exhumed and reburied his body at least three times in three different locations. Ayathai Sisseton Wahpeton wants to bury him next to his father on the Traverse Lake Reservation in northeastern South Dakota.
Clan historians say that six children of clan leaders were sent to Carlisle in 1879. Three boys died there and the fourth died after he returned home.
At the repatriation ceremony of the nine remaining Rosebud Sioux children two years ago, US Secretary of the Interior Deb Holland said that the practice of forced assimilation in Indian schools had destroyed the children’s clothing, language and culture.
Carlisle School subjected children to harsh conditions that sometimes resulted in their death. A school founded by an army officer cut their braids, dressed them in military uniforms and punished them for speaking their mother tongue. European names were forced upon them.
More than 10,000 Native American children were educated there and endured harsh conditions that sometimes resulted in death from tuberculosis. Carlisle has seen a number of layoffs and repatriations in recent years.
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