Hundreds of people gathered in Wickliffe Kentucky today for a public ceremony to mark the end of a long battle by Native Americans to have their ancestors’ remains reburied in accordance with tribal traditions. The remains were removed from the Wickliffe Native American Burial Mounds by archeologists several decades ago, and at one point were even displayed to the public. Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel says the display was disrespectful. He says,
“The idea that you could display human remains for monetary… and charge admission to that… was disgusting. It’s disgraceful to me.”
The public ceremony comes a year after the actual reburial, which took place in a private ceremony led by the Chickasaw Nation. Keel says it took years of effort and negotiations with archeologists and state leaders to re-inter the bodies. Keel feels relieved now that the remains are at rest.