Challenging Narratives of Erasure: Corruption at Effigy Mounds

Effigy Mounds
Effigy Mounds National Monument: Great Bear Mounds in Northeastern Iowa. National Park Service. "Effigy-Mounds-Great-Bear." 5 January 2009, Wikimedia Commons,

Effigy Mounds is located in Northeast Iowa and is home to multiple Plains Tribes burial grounds. This area has long been considered a “‘sacred place where Nations meet’” (Blake) by many Native American tribes. In 1990 the caretakers appointed by the United States government stole over 40 sets of remains from the Mounds and National Monument Museum. These bones were put in garbage bags and left in someone’s garage to sit for almost twenty years. In 2011, this corruption/evil act was discovered and an investigation was launched to prove that the bones were stolen and to return them to their rightful home. Finally, in 2016 guilty parties were sentenced.

Lance Foster, the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska said, “They’re secure. Plans are being made to repatriate them and the tribes are going to be part of that process. It will be done as soon as we can get everything figured out, to put them back here somewhere.” The many tribes, whose ancestors are buried at Effigy Mounds, will work together and come to a consensus about the reburial of their Tribal Ancestors as a group.

Link to Original Article


Blake, Lissa. “Returned to Their Journey: Bone of 41 American Indians Removed from Effigy Mounds Returned to Their Tribes for Reburial.” The Standard [Waukon, IA], 17 October 2018, Accessed 13 November 2018.