Wind River

The Wind River runs along the boundaries of Riverton, Wyo., and the Wind River Reservation. 

Jenna VonHofe, Casper Star-Tribune

RIVERTON, Wyo. — Tribal officials on Wyoming's Wind River Indian Reservation have reburied centuries-old human remains discovered during digging for a water line project.

Workers found the remains in September. Tribal officials reburied the bones Oct. 27 at an undisclosed location in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, said David Oldman with the Northern Arapaho Tribal Historic Preservation Office.

"They went through the proper burial procedures," Oldman told the Riverton Ranger.

Such burials typically involve prayers and are attended by tribal elders, spiritual leaders and representatives of his office, Oldman said.

Investigators determined the remains belonged to a 40- to 50-year-old Native American woman who stood 4 feet, 10 inches tall. She lived between 250 and 3,000 years ago and originally had been deliberately buried in a grave.

The bones were excavated soon after their discovery with the help of forensic anthropologists and senior students from the University of Wyoming.

The university experts were unable to determine how the woman died but the death was likely natural, Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen said.

Finding ancient bones buried on the reservation is relatively rare. The Northern Arapaho usually receive remains transferred from museums and universities for reburial, Oldman said.

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