Army Disinters and Returns Remains of Six Native American Children to Tribes

By U.S. ArmyJuly 9, 2019

CARLISLE BARRACK, PA, July 8, 2019 - During the past four weeks, Army National Military Cemeteries, in partnership with a team from the Army Corps of Engineers with support from Carlisle Barracks Garrison and in collaboration with the Oneida, Omaha, Modoc and Iowa Nations, disinterred the remains at of six Native American children who passed away while attending the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.

"We are confident in our determination that the remains are consistent with Jimima Metoxen, Sophia Caulon, Ophelia Powless, Alice Springer, Adam McCarty and Henry Jones, and they have been reunited with their families," said Arthur Smith, ANMC Project Leader.

Family members from all four Nations worked with the Army with respect to the planning, process and potential findings, Smith added.

This is the third year in a row of this effort to reunite these children with their loved ones. Following a transfer ceremony, the remains were sent for reinternment at a place of the family's choosing.

Dr. Michael K. "Sonny" Trimble, an Archaeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was responsible for assembling and directing the archaeology and forensic analysis team associated with the recovery.

"I would like to thank my technical experts and professional support team from ANMC and Carlisle Barracks. They are exceptional. Finally and most importantly, all of us are deeply grateful to have served the Oneida family, the Omaha family, the Modoc family and the Iowa family in the dignified recovery of their loved ones," Trimble said.

Dr. Elizabeth DiGangi, a board-certified forensic anthropologist and assistant professor at Binghamton University, consulted with the Army on this project.

"It was my privilege to conduct a forensic anthropological analysis on the exhumed human skeletons," DiGangi said. "My team and I undertook this analysis with diligence and care. I am always cognizant that all present bones are what remains of a human life, and I therefore approach each analysis with respect and reverence."

She added that her team used accepted standards in the field to conduct their examination, to include estimation of the ages these teenagers were when they died and their biological sex, and that her conclusions were based on internationally-accepted growth and development standards of bones and teeth.

"We are honored and privileged that the Army had the opportunity to transfer the Native American children's remains from Carlisle Barracks Post Cemetery to their families," said Karen Durham-Aguilera, ANMC Executive Director. "We hope these dignified disinterments allow the families to find some measure of closure and healing,"