Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, Utah


Century-old remains of an American Indian woman were found recently in a dry wash in Duchesne County by children, said Sheriff Ralph Stansfield. When deputies found artifacts indicating the remains might be Native American they contacted Ute officials who approved taking the remains to the State Medical Examiner's office for further study. The site on private property does not appear to be a burial ground, the sheriff said. A forensic anthropologist confirmed remains are those of a female of Native American ancestry. The woman was reported to be in her late 40s to early 50s at the time of death. Cultural artifacts included copper bracelets, a necklace of pink beads, a small amount of decomposed clothing and what appears to be animal fur, and some metal fragments from which " ... it appears that this individual died long ago, almost certainly before the turn of the last century. ... The areas of muscle attachment on her upper arms were incredibly robust for a woman of her size and advanced age. She had arthritis in her spine severe enough to cause pain ... . She ... at least had given birth to one or more children." Stansfield said he will take the remains to Ute Tribe officials for reburial. Tribal officials joined Uintah County officials to question the Bureau of Land Management's planned release of about 80 quarantined mustangs back into eastern Utah's rugged Book Cliffs at dawn June 9. Release was delayed because of the complaints. The Bonanza herd horses were gathered by the bureau late last year to control the outbreak of the deadly virus, equine infectious anemia. Those that tested positive were destroyed. April 4 state veterinary officials announced the remaining horses tested negative for the disease and lifted the quarantine. Opponents contend the horses still could spread the disease to domesticated animals. County Commission Chairman Herb Snyder said some grazing permit holders have suspended operations in the release area because of lack of forage. "... we need to protect the permittees." He said the county, ranchers and the tribe are considering possible litigation to block the release. Wild-horse advocates applauded the decision to return some of the herd to the range. "The livestock people don't have the sole right to run their cattle on public lands," said Jeanne Stuart McVey of the Animal Legal Defense Fund in California. She said there are people "who want to see wild horses out there."