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Release: Immediate

Office of the State Archaeologist to hold May 29-31 Oneota Conference

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Anthropologists and tribal representatives from across the Midwest will be attending the 1997 Oneota Conference, "Working Together to Understand the Cultural Affiliations of Oneota Peoples in Iowa," to be held May 29-31 at the University of Iowa.

Representatives from the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Oklahoma are invited participants to a conference that is a follow-up to a similar session held in 1994 that attracted 150 participants from 14 states and Canada. The purpose of the meeting, according to State Archaeologist Bill Green, is to examine Oneota cultural affiliation in conjunction with an inventory of archaeological artifacts currently being conducted by the Office of the State Archaeologist, with the support of the State Historical Society and the National Park Service. The artifacts are part of the Charles R. Keyes Collection, housed in the State Historical Society of Iowa.

As a result of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the issue of cultural affiliation of prehistoric remains, some of which are contained in the Keyes Collection, has become important. Under certain conditions, the Act requires the return of some archaeological remains to their original peoples. Although many of the human remains and associated artifacts come from Oneota sites in the state and most are believed to be ancestral to Ioway and Otoe peoples, the assessment of cultural affiliation is difficult.

State Archaeologist Bill Green says that one goal of the informal conference is to reach a consensus on the nature of Oneota affiliation, as well as to discuss questions and issues of mutual concern.

"Federal law requires consultation with tribes that are affiliated with the remains in the collection. This is not as big a leap for us as it has been in other states because we have been working with the Indian community for over 20 years on reburial and related issues. This conference will advance Iowa's leadership role in fostering cooperation among Native Americans, archaeologists and museums," Green says.

Meeting presentations will focus on such issues as problems to be resolved in Oneota archaeology and identifying opportunities for cooperation between Indian peoples and archaeologists.

(more) 5/23/97

The conference is sponsored by the Office of the State Archaeologist, with support from the National Park Service, the UI American Indian and Native Studies Program, the State Historical Society, and the UI Cultural Affairs Council. Meeting registration is $25 ($10 for students). For further information, call the Office of the State Archaeologist at (319) 335-2389 or send an e-mail message to