More Than 8,000 Artifacts Returned to Bois Forte

By KBJR News 1

July 19, 2012 Updated Jul 19, 2012 at 8:19 PM CDT

Bois Forte Reservation (Northland's NewsCenter) - After years away from tribal lands, more than 8,000 ancient artifacts have been returned to the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Officials from the Band's Heritage Center say that some of the artifacts are more than 2,000 years old.

"We had originally thought there were about 7,000," said Heritage Center Museum Curator, Bill Latady, "We found that there were approximately 1,800 more than we had expected."

After being removed from tribal lands in 1948 without band permission, more than 8,000 pieces of pottery, stone tools and other artifacts are calling the Bois Forte reservation home once again.

"It adds to the story of the Bois Forte people and it gives us another part to tell," said Museum Executive Director, Rose Berens.

It's a story that band members say they're excited to tell on their own. The Minnesota Historical Society, which recieved the artifacts years ago, returned them at the request of band members, who say this is an important part of their history.

"It represents probably about 3,000 years of history," said Latady.

Band members are hoping to learn more about their history through the artifacts and educate both band members and non–members alike.

"Part of the mission of the museum is to educate everyone about history," said Latady.

More important than the history however, might be having such a large piece of tribal heritage back at home.

"It's important for the education of our people, it's important to complete us as who we are as Indian people and it's just important to have them at home," said Berens.

The Bois Forte Heritage Center plans to start working on an exhibit for the artifacts this fall.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.