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Coast Guard returns Alaska Native remains to Point Spencer

Ian Putnam (right), a Coast Guard physical scientist, and Edmund Gaines, a Coast...
Ian Putnam (right), a Coast Guard physical scientist, and Edmund Gaines, a Coast Guard-contracted archaeological consultant, prepare to repatriate unidentified Alaska Native remains at Point Spencer, Alaska, Aug. 12, 2021. The two returned the remains to the site where they’d been accidentally collected during an archaeological excavation on Coast Guard-owned property, near the former Long Range Aids to Navigation (LORAN) C Station at Port Clarence.(U.S. Coast Guard 17th District Alaska)
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 11:39 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska Native remains believed to be somewhere between 300 and 550 years old are now back where they belong at Point Spencer, about 85 miles northwest of Nome.

According to the Coast Guard, the remains were accidentally collected during an archaeological excavation on Coast Guard-owned property, near the former Long Range Aids to Navigation C Station at Point Spencer, on the Seward Peninsula.

Back in 2010, the station closed. Years later, the Coast Guard allowed research teams from Portland State University and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to excavate the site with the intention of preserving cultural resources and preventing damage to the site.

Mostly animal remains were collected from the site and brought back to the university, but it was later determined some human remains were inadvertently collected as well. After extensive research and speaking with multiple tribes, the Coast Guard determined the remains likely belonged to the Native Village of Brevig Mission.

The Coast Guard said the remains were hand-carried from the university back to Alaska and reburied on Aug. 12, as close as possible to the original discovery site.

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