- About MCC
- What we do
- Get involved
- Stories and resources
- Ways to give
Return to the Earth
The Return to the Earth project supports Native Americans in burying unidentifiable ancestral remains (by providing burial boxes and clothes) now scattered across the United States and enables a process of education and reconciliation between Native and Non-Native peoples.
A Vision of Dignity
About the RTE Logo
A Legacy of Pain
The U.S. government ordered military troops on the frontier to collect the skulls and other remains of Native Americans and ship them to Washington, D.C., for scientific study. Native American remains, like those at Sand Creek, were among thousands that ended up in displays as well as on dusty shelves and in forgotten drawers in depositories, museums, and universities across the country.
An Act of Hope
Yet today over 110,000 remains cannot be identified as belonging to a particular tribe. These once beloved mothers, fathers, friends, and children are awaiting to be returned, honored, and buried with dignity.
NAGPRA website- Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a Unite States federal law passed in 1990. NAGPRA provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items -- human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony -- to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations.
NAGPRA Wikipedia Article - that references The Return to the Earth project. Articles useful to some readers looking for a brief overview of NAGPRA.
NCAI website- National Council of American Indians was founded in 1944 in response to termination and assimilation policies that the United States forced upon the tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereigns. NCAI stressed the need for unity and cooperation among tribal governments for the protection of their treaty and sovereign rights. Since 1944, the National Congress of American Indians has been working to inform the public and Congress on the governmental rights of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Mennonite Central Committee- international relief, development, and peace agency of the North American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches. The MCC Restorative Justice Program has a staff member that serves on the RTE board and supports this project.
Support Return to the EarthBecome a RTE Volunteer!
Your contribution to RTE move the project toward fruition and fund:
Mennonite Central Committee