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Indian Burial Sites Put Flood Control Agency Between Conflicting State And Federal Orders

Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency / Flickr
 

Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency / Flickr

The Sutter Butte Flood Control Agency has been given another week to decide what to do with hundreds of Native American artifacts dug up by construction crews last year.

Crews found 230 full burials and a number of partial burials while preparing levees for repairs along the Feather River in Sutter County. The agency says it has transferred the remains to the United Auburn Indian Community.

The California Native American Heritage Commission says state law requires the flood control agency give the bodies and artifacts to the United Auburn Indian Community.  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has cited federal law and threatened to revoke the agency's work permit if it surrenders the artifacts. The Corps says some of the artifacts are non-burial-associated artifacts and are under the federal government's jurisdiction. The corps says archaeologists have a legal right to study the artifacts before returning them to the tribe. The United Auburn Indians say all of the artifacts are part of burial grounds.

The Army Corps, flood control agency and Indian community supported an extension of a deadline for a resolution to the problem.

The California Native American Heritage Commission agreed to extend the deadline to next Tuesday.

The flood control agency is in the third-and-final-year of a $300 million levee repair project.

Bonds issued by the state and an assessment on property owners along the river are funding the repairs.