Canyon De Chelly Navajo Remains Case Sent Back To US District Court

By Al Macias
Published: Monday, April 11, 2016 - 9:23am

A case involving human remains removed from Canyon de Chelly has been sent back to U.S. District Court for Arizona.

The Navajo Nation claims that over 300 human remains were removed from the canyon over the years following archeological expeditions. They are currently housed at the Western Archeological and Conservation Center in Tucson. The tribe wants to rebury the remains in Canyon de Chelly.

According to the Navajo Times, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the district court’s dismissal of the case. The Appellate court  said the National Park Service’s letter refusing to turn the remains over to the Navajo Nation obligates the U.S. government to waive its sovereign immunity in the case.

The U.S. Department of the Interior had claimed the government was protected by sovereign immunity and could not be sued in this case.