In November 2010, Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe hosted a public observance of the repatriation of ancestral remains and funerary objects. The university's Museum of Cultural and Natural History had the remains of 144 ancestors in its possession that were transferred to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. CMU began the repatriation process discussions in 2008. 

Click here to view photos from the events.  Scroll down to view media stories about the events.


Repatriation Roundtable Discussion

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
5 to 6:30 p.m.
Park Library Auditorium

Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement, and others who work at the national level to address Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act issues discussed the repatriation of Native American remains from CMU's museum. William Johnson, Ziibiwing Center Curator, served as moderator. The roundtable discussion was co-sponsored by Native American Programs Office, College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.  


  • Dennis Banks, Co-Founder of the American Indian Movement
  • Councilwoman Charmaine Benz, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan
  • Curtis Hopkins, Unami Lenapi Nation
  • Dr. Sonya Atalay, Indiana University & NAGPRA Review Committee Member
  • Dr. Beverley Smith, University of Michigan - Flint
  • Dr. Tracy Brown, Central Michigan University


"Walk Them Home"

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Program begins at 8:15 a.m.
Walk begins at 9 a.m.

Hundreds of representatives from Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe gathered for a five-mile processional to return the remains of 144 ancestors from CMU's campus to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's Nibokaan Ancestral Cemetery. Participants shared pallbearer duties throughout the walk. 

Opening remarks were given by Chief Dennis Kequom, Dennis Banks (co-founder of the American Indian Movement), CMU Provost Gary Shapiro, and CMU Vice President for Governmental Relations & Public Affairs Kathy Wilbur. The procession began at Rowe Hall and followed a route from Bellows to Crapo to East Broadway to South Leaton to Tomah Road.  Students and teachers from Mount Pleasant High School lined the sidewalk to pay respects as the procession passed. 

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe offered shuttle service throughout the day and provided a lunch of soup, sandwiches and refreshments for all "Walk Them Home" participants upon arrival at the Nibokaan Cemetery.


"Returning to the Earth"

Friday, November 5, 2010
12 to 3 p.m.

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe invited the public to attend a "Returning to the Earth" ceremony for the ancestors and their associated funerary objects at the Nibokaan Ancestral Cemetery. The ceremony was officiated by Curtis Hopkins, with the assistance from other invited Anishinabe spiritual leaders and remarks from CMU president George E. Ross.


Spirit Feast

Friday, November 5, 2010
6 to 8 p.m.
Ziibiwing Center

The Ziibiwing Center hosted a Spirit Feast to conclude the ancestral protocols. 


Media Stories 

CM Life - 10/22/2010
Remains of tribal ancestors to be returned from CMU in early November

CM Life - 11/5/2010
More than 200 walk American Indian remains to tribal cemetery