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Notice

Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Tennessee Valley Authority, Knoxville, TN

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AGENCY:

National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), in consultation with the appropriate Federally recognized Indian tribes has determined that the cultural items listed in this notice meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request to the TVA. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of control of the cultural items to the Federally recognized Indian tribe stated in this notice may proceed.

DATES:

Lineal descendants or representatives of any Federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to TVA at the address in this notice by February 18, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

Dr. Thomas O. Maher, TVA, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT11D, Knoxville, TN 37902-1401, telephone (865) 632-7458, email tomaher@tva.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent to repatriate cultural items under the control of TVA that meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects under 25 U.S.C. 3001.

This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American cultural items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.

History and Description of the Cultural Item(s)

From March 13 to November 14, 1939, 205 cultural items were removed from the Rudder site (1JA180), in Jackson County, AL. The Rudder site was excavated as part of TVA's Guntersville reservoir project by the Alabama Museum of Natural History (AMNH) at the University of Alabama, using labor and funds provided by the Works Progress Administration. Excavation of the land commenced after TVA had acquired this land for the Guntersville project. The excavation site was composed of a truncated trapezoidal mound w ith multiple construction periods and a smaller mound containing most of the burial units. This site was occupied during the Henry Island phase of the Mississippian culture (ca. A.D. 1200-1400). Details regarding this site may be found in An Archaeological Survey of Guntersville Basin on the Tennessee River in Northern Alabama by William S. Webb and Charles G. Wilder. The unassociated funerary Start Printed Page 2883objects excavated from the Rudder site have always been in the physical custody of the AMNH at the University of Alabama. The 205 unassociated funerary objects are comprised of 1 ceramic bowl, 2 ceramic water bottles, 199 pottery sherds, 2 pieces of graphite, and 1 sandstone pallet.

These unassociated funerary objects were recovered from six burial features. The human remains from these burial features were either not collected during excavation or have been misplaced in the last 74 years. These burial features, however, were derived from Henry Island phase strata in the mounds at this site. These unassociated funerary objects are, therefore, from Mississippian culture burials.

Although there is no scientific certainty that Native Americans of the Henry Island phase are directly related to modern Federally recognized tribes, Spanish and French explorers of the 16th and 17th centuries do indicate the presence chiefdom level tribal entities in the southeastern United States. The Coosa paramount chiefdom noted in historical chronicles is the most likely entity related to Henry Island phase sites in this part of the Guntersville Reservoir. Tribal groups or towns now part of The Muscogee (Creek) Nation claim descent from the Coosa chiefdom. The preponderance of the evidence indicates that in this part of the Guntersville Reservoir area, Henry Island phase sites are most likely culturally associated with groups now part of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Determinations Made by the Tennessee Valley Authority

Officials of TVA have determined that:

  • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(B), the 205 cultural items described in this notice are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony and are believed, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have been removed from the specific burial sites of a Native American individuals.
  • Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the unassociated funerary objects and The Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

Additional Requestors and Disposition

Lineal descendants or representatives of any Federally recognized Indian tribe not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to Dr. Thomas O. Maher, TVA, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT11D, Knoxville, TN 37902-1401, telephone (865) 632-7458, email tomaher@tva.gov, by February 18, 2014. After that date, if no additional claimants have come forward, transfer of control of the unassociated funerary objects to The Muscogee (Creek) Nation may proceed.

TVA is responsible for notifying the University of Alabama and the Absentee-Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas (previously listed as the Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas); Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town; Cherokee Nation; Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma; Kialegee Tribal Town; Poarch Band of Creeks (previously listed as the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama); Seminole Tribe of Florida (previously listed as the Seminole Tribe of Florida (Dania, Big Cypress, Brighton, Hollywood & Tampa Reservations)); Shawnee Tribe; The Chickasaw Nation; The Muscogee (Creek) Nation; The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; Thlopthlocco Tribal Town; and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, that this notice has been published.

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Dated: December 2, 2013.

Melanie O'Brien,

Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.

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[FR Doc. 2014-00805 Filed 1-15-14; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4312-50-P