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Remains Found at Tongue River State Park

The remains of a Native American woman investigated under state jurisdiction.

Hum an remains found at Tongue River State Park on Sep t. 2 are still under investigat ion, said Aaron Brien, Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Officer.

A human skull was reviewed by the Montana State Medical Examiner’s Office, and, according to a Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office press release, it appears likely to be historic and not the result of a recent event.

Further testing is being conducted to determine the approximate age of the remains, Brien said.

T he remains, wh ich were identified by the examining pathologist as belonging to an adult, American Indian female, are being investigated by state officials since they were found on state land.

“Every agency has different processes and rules for these events, from tribal, to federal, even the Smithsonian has its own rules,” Brien said.

While the state has jurisdiction over the remains, officials are working with Crow and Northern Cheyenne Tribal Historic Preservation Officers.

The area where the remains were located is being treated as a crime scene until test results confirm the age of the remains, at which point the State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers will determine what will be done with them, Brien said.

A fisherman at Tongue River State Park discovered the remains on Sept. 2, according to the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office. Big Horn County was called in by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department after the discovery of the skull at the state park near Decker.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were on scene shortly after the remains were discovered, where they found the skull and several bones believed to be associated with it on the shore of the Tongue River Reservoir.

Given the apparent age of the skull, Brien said, the Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Office has been consulted on the matter and will be involved in any repatriation of the human remains if appropriate.

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