Historical Society returns artifacts to Bois Forte 17 Jul 12

NETT LAKE, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Historical Society has returned thousands of archaeological artifacts to the Bois Forte (boys fort) Band of Chippewa.

The collection includes stone tools, arrowheads, ceramics and copper artifacts which were excavated in 1948 from tribal land in Koochiching County without the band’s permission. Archaeologists say the more than 7,000 items are 800 to 3,000 years old.

The artifacts were taken and held by the University of Minnesota until 1999 when they were turned over the Historical Society.

The Bois Forte Tribal Council asked the Historical Society to return the items to the band. Some of the artifacts will be displayed at the Bois Forte Heritage Museum on Lake Vermilion. Bois Forte Chairman Kevin Leecy says the band is the best steward of its history.

AP-WF-07-17-12 1419GMT