American Indian Board Wants L.A. Museum Project Stopped

Excavation work at LA Plaza De Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles | Photo by The City Project

Human remains found at a downtown L.A. museum construction site have prompted a state commission to request the project be stopped while an investigation determines if they are of American Indian origin or not.

Archaeologists have stated that the remains found at LA Plaza De Cultura y Artes on Main Street are not, and the Los Angeles County Cororner's office, which is required by law to inform the Native American Heritage Commission if such remains are found, has made no reports.

However, in a letter Thursday from the commission to the coroner's office, it requested the project still be delayed. "Given the strong concerns expressed by the Native Americans of the Los Angeles basin, the Native American Heritage Commission, respectfully requests that the Los Angeles Department of Coroner stop the project," said the letter, "or request that your office make said request to the appropriate agency of the County of Los Angeles until a full investigation takes place in order to bear all the facts and the roles and responsibilities of the various government agencies with regard to the above-referenced project."

A museum official Saturday explained they were in constant communication with both the coroner and the commission, and that everything is going through the appropriate channels.

The archaeological firm hired to monitor excavation work said the remains are most likely from Catholic burials from the original cemetery of the neighboring La Placita Church. "Based on the data recovered to date, the context of the remains appear to be consistent with those found in a historic Catholic church cemetery," said Sandy Schneeberger of the The Sanberg Group. All remains will be turned over to the Archdiocese for reburial after all the cultural materials are recorded and analyzed.

LA Plaza, which is slated to open on April 16th and will educate visitors about the Mexican and Mexican American experience and culture, is located across the street from El Pueblo, the birthplace of Los Angeles. During that time, the area was also home to the Indian village of Yaanga.

The image on this page was taken by flickr user The City Project, which has also blogged about this issue. It is used under a Creative Commons License.

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