Tribes demand voice in burial of Mission San Juan Indian remains

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by Eric Gonzales

KENS

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 9:18 PM

Bones found at Mission San Juan have spawned a tribal conflict between Native Americans and the Catholic church. Several tribes said they are being shut out from their rightful burial. 

Quileutecan Native Americans are protesting the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio.  They say last May the remains of about 15 Indian children were found at Mission San Juan church. 
 
The archdiocese met Wednesday to negotiate the burial of the remains with a group called the American Indians of Texas. But other tribes say they aren't documented ancestors.

Antonio Diaz of the Texas Indigenous Council said, "It is not an Indian nation. It is a nonprofit organization. It is not listed in any of the bands in the church archives that were held at the missions."
 
Archbishop Patrick Flores recognized the American Indians of Texas group back in 1999 but Antonio Diaz wants the current archbishop to recognize the Texas Indigenous Council, as well. 

In response, the church said their focus is on the burial of the remains.
 
"That isn't where our concern lies," said Pat Rodgers, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of San Antonio. "We really want these remains and the artifacts—that will also be buried when those remains are buried— treated with the kind of dignity, that regardless of your culture or religion, that you believe they deserve."

Rodgers said the next step will be the burial, but he did not know when that would happen.

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