Return of artifacts to Hopi Tribe raise questions

Return of artifacts to Hopi Tribe raise questions

CREATED Dec. 29, 2012

Web Producer: Taylor Higgins

PHOENIX (AP) - The federal government recently returned a collection of artifacts to anonymous members of northern Arizona's Hopi Tribe.

The proceeding involved a substantial expenditure of tax dollars, but The Arizona Republic reports that the federal government is refusing to provide an accounting of the money spent to return the archaeological treasure trove to the tribe under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The government has also declined to describe the repatriated items.

The items were collected during archaeological digs from Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff.

Federal officials say they're honoring the tribe's request not to disclose information.

Repatriation is a matter of justice for tribes. But for some archaeologists and anthropologists, the loss of ancient artifacts represents a scientific sacrilege - disposal of objects that may be irreplaceable in understanding human history and cultures.

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