Photo: Burke Museum
Photo: Burke Museum

Posted January 23, 2023

Repatriation Notice

In accordance with our International Repatriation Policy, the Burke Museum hereby announces its intent to repatriate ancestral remains to the T’eqt’aqtnmux (Kanaka Bar Indian Band).   


The ancestral remains represent one individual from the Kwoiek Creek Watershed, which is part of the ancestral and current territory of the T’eqt’aqtnmux. The ancestor was removed from a cave burial in the Kwoiek Creek Watershed in 1926 by the prospector, Sidney R. Dunham, and received by the Burke Museum in 1944. The remains were then accessioned into the museum’s permanent collection (Accession #3320).  

In 2004-2006, the Burke Museum notified the Kanaka Bar Indian Band, Skuppah Band, and the Lytton Band about the ancestor in the museum's care. The Kanaka Bar Indian Band has submitted a claim to repatriate these remains as descendants of the community who stewarded Kwoiek, where the ancestor's burial was located. The Burke Museum honors the need for this ancestor to return to their community, and further consultation will continue for repatriating other Nlaka’pamux objects in the museum’s collection.   

This notice will be posted for thirty (30) days to allow for any further consultation regarding this ancestor. For more information about this repatriation, please contact Justice McNeeley, Archaeology Repatriation Coordinator & Assistant Registrar, at or 206.685.3849 ext. 2.  


The Burke Museum is committed to both the legal and ethical principles of NAGPRA—federal law that allows tribes to reclaim human remains and cultural items from museums and other institutions.

The Burke Museum actively works with Native American tribes to identify and repatriate the cultural items covered by the Native American Graves Protection & Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). These include human remains, associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.

NAGPRA combines administrative law, property law, and criminal law to protect the civil rights and religious freedoms of Native American tribes. In the past, many Native American human remains were brought to museums with little or no regard to the concerns of the affiliated communities. NAGPRA allows affiliated tribes to reclaim these human remains and certain cultural items subject to the legislation.

The Burke values open communication and respectful relationships during this process, and also works with tribes throughout the US and Canada to respectfully and appropriately preserve Native American cultural items, assist tribes in their cultural heritage efforts, and promote collaborative research and public education.

As required by law, the Burke Museum provided NAGPRA Summaries to the National Park Service and relevant tribal communities in 1993, and NAGPRA Inventories of human remains and funerary objects in 1995. The museum has updated NAGPRA Summaries, Inventories and Notices since the passage of the law, in compliance with the Future Applicability final rule.


Burke Museum Registrar

Land Acknowledgement

The Burke Museum stands on the lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, whose ancestors have resided here since time immemorial. Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place — alive and strong.