Tribes reclaim items stolen from sacred sites

More than 1,400 artifacts that were stolen from sacred sites were returned to four tribes at a ceremony on Thursday.

Kenneth L. Milette of Washington admitted that he looted graves and other sites in five states. He was sentenced to three years of supervised probation, $7,000 in restitution, a $10,000 fine for stealing and selling Indian artifacts.

Milette also forfeited his collection, most of which was returned to the Spokane Tribe of Washington, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Idaho and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho.

“It saddens me to think my ancestors may have been lying in somebody’s basement,” said Spokane elder Jim SiJohn, The Spokesman Review reported. “If we don’t honor our ancestors, we lose our culture and our history.”

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Tribal artifacts returned (The Spokesman Review 9/25)