Controversy Over Abenaki Artifact Auction

By Joe Gullo

Published 03/26 2014 05:14PM

Updated 03/26 2014 06:13PM

SWANTON, Vt. - A decades old discovery is now creating controversy again.

Ancient Abenaki artifacts are set to go to auction. They were dug up in Swanton in the 1970s and most were returned to the burial grounds in the early 90s.

Now the Vermont Commission on Native American affairs is trying to recover the items and prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

The chair of the commission Lucy Neel says part of protecting native heritage, is keeping burial sites out of the public eye.

"All sacred burial grounds are sacred, private, and it's not for the world to know," Neel said.

Neel says the state told the commission, there's nothing more it can do to prevent the sale of the Swanton artifacts and that the items now belong to the original property owners from the 70s.

The commission tells FOX 44 and ABC 22, it will look into having Vermont laws amended to better protect native burial grounds and artifacts in the future.

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