CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) — Remains exhumed from a cemetery at a U.S. Army base in Pennsylvania do not belong to the Native American teenager recorded to have been buried there more than a century ago, a said the army.
The military is exhuming the remains of eight deceased Native American children at the government-run Carlisle Indian Industrial School and plans to transfer custody to the children’s closest living relatives.
On Saturday, the military exhumed Grave B-13, believed to belong to Wade Ayres of the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, who died in 1904. The remains did not match those of a 13 or 14-year-old man, but were instead found. be compatible with a female between the ages of 15 and 20, the military said in a statement.
The girl’s remains were reinterred in the same grave on Monday and marked unknown.
“The military is committed to seeking more information in an effort to determine where Wade Ayres’ remains are buried so that he can be returned to his family and to the Catawba Nation,” the military said.
A message was left with Catawba officials on Tuesday requesting additional information.
The exhumation process began earlier this month and is Carlisle’s fifth since 2017. More than 20 sets of Native American remains have been transferred to family members in previous rounds.
More than 10,000 children from more than 140 tribes passed through the Carlisle Indian Industrial School between 1879 and 1918, including famed Olympian Jim Thorpe, as part of a US policy to force Native American children to assimilate to white society.
The school took steps to separate students from their culture, cutting off their braids, dressing them in military-style uniforms and punishing them for speaking their native language.
Some 186 children were originally buried in the site cemetery.
In 2017, a grave believed to belong to a 10-year-old Native American child actually contained two sets of remains, of a teenager and a person of undetermined age and sex.
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