Discovery of Human Remains That May Be Native American
The following steps should be taken when human remains are discovered:
1. Call the County Coroner. (Health and Safety Code section 7050.5). The County Coroner, and not the NAHC, site archaeologists, monitors, or anyone else, determines that the remains are Native American for purposes of the NAHC’s jurisdiction. If they are, the County Coroner will contact the NAHC. The NAHC does not have jurisdiction to designate Most Likely Descendants until the County Coroner determines that the remains discovered are Native American. The landowner shall ensure that the immediate vicinity of the remains, according to generally accepted cultural or archaeological standards or practices, is not damaged or disturbed further by development activity until the landowner has discussed and conferred with the Most Likely Descendants regarding their recommendations. The coroner shall make his or her determination within two working days from the time when the person responsible for the excavation, or his or her authorized representative, notifies the coroner of the discovery or recognition of human remains. If the coroner determines the remains are not subject to his or her authority and if the coroner recognizes the human remains to be those of a Native American or has reason to believe that there are those of a Native American, he or she shall contact the NAHC, by telephone, within 24 hours.
2. The NAHC Environmental and Cultural Staff will designate which California Native American Tribe on its Most Likely Descendants list is the Most Likely Descendant of the Native American whose remains were discovered and contact that Tribe. (Public Resources Code sections 5097.94(a), 5097.98)
3. The Tribe designated as MLD will have 48 hours from the point at which they are granted access by the landowner of the property to where the remains were discovered to inspect the site where the remains were discovered and make recommendations or preferences for treatment know to the landowner. The landowner shall discuss and confer with the MLDs all reasonable options regarding the MLDs preferences for treatment, which may include:
a. The nondestructive removal and analysis of human remains and items associated with the Native American human remains.
b. Preservation of the Native American human remains in place.
c. Relinquishment of the Native American human remains to the MLDS for treatment.
d. Other culturally appropriate treatment. (Public Resources Code section 5097.98).
4. The part