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Caddo Tribe Re-inters Tribal Nation’s Ancestors

Caddo Tribe Re-inters Tribal Nation�s Ancestors

Story by Beverly Moseley

Three generations of Caddo Nation tribal members attended a recent ancestral burial ceremony at Nacogdoches Sunset Cemetery.

Eight cedar boxes, made to Tribal specifications, held the remains of Caddo Indians recovered from archeologically identified sites, during construction of the Lake Naconiche watershed project.

�Cedar is part of who we are and represents life. Cedar never dies. It stays green all year long. God gave it to us. Cedar represents our people, prayers and respect,� said Bobby Gonzalez, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) coordinator for the Caddo Nation.

Upwards of 50 people attended the emotional, sacred ceremony which was conducted by Gonzalez and Lyman Kionute, the Caddo Tribe�s ceremonial leader and repatriation committee member. Along with Tribal leaders, elders and members, attendees included the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), along with Nacogdoches County representatives and elected officials.

�This was the most complicated tribal consultation Texas-NRCS has ever experienced and a process spanning some eleven years. But, it has been a very gratifying experience to see the cooperation and respect among the Caddo Tribe, NRCS, Nacogdoches County and other consulting parties,� said Calvin Sanders, NRCS cultural resources specialist in Temple, Texas.

NRCS was a guiding entity throughout the lengthy process to locate, evaluate and treat archeological sites, which began in 1999 and ended in 2004. Sanders said that NRCS worked closely with the Caddo Tribe and archaeologists to locate the sites. Archeologist then analyzed the burial remains and funerary objects and placed them in a secure climate-controlled location, as agreed to by the Tribe, until a ceremony could be held.

The Caddo Nation has around 5,000 tribal members. Tribal headquarters� is located in Binger, Oklahoma.

Three generations of Caddo Nation tribal members attended a recent ancestral burial ceremony at Nacogdoches Sunset Cemetery in Nacogdoches, Texas. Lyman Kionute (foreground, left) Caddo ceremonial leader and George Campbell (foreground, right) retired land and special projects agent for Nacogdoches County, visit at the gravesite prior to the re-internment. Out of respect to the Caddo Tribe, no pictures were taken during the sacred burial ceremony.

Three generations of Caddo Nation tribal members attended a recent ancestral burial ceremony at Nacogdoches Sunset Cemetery in Nacogdoches, Texas. Lyman Kionute (foreground, left) Caddo ceremonial leader and George Campbell (foreground, right) retired land and special projects agent for Nacogdoches County, visit at the gravesite prior to the re-internment. Out of respect to the Caddo Tribe, no pictures were taken during the sacred burial ceremony.