Native American Stays of Unknown Age Found Throughout Residential Development Mission Close to Royal Couple’s Mansion


Details of Andrew Kennard

June 15, 2021

MONTECITO, Calif. – Around 5:12 p.m. on May 24, landscapers discovered the skeletal remains of a Native American who may have belonged to a long-time Chumash tribe.

The sheriff’s office said MPs responded to a report of human remains in the 800 block on Riven River Road “found while workers were digging a trench for a housing project.” The Santa Barbara News-Press reported that the sheriff’s public information officer confirmed that the remains were found one street from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s $ 14 million mansion, but were not on the royals’ property .

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Coroner’s investigators found that “the bones appeared to be from a death who had not recently died, yellowed, and in a state of decomposition and decay” and that the nature of the wear and tear on the teeth caused “a much rougher diet that this type of wear and tear would cause “suggested similar to Native American people,” according to the sheriff’s office.

According to the sheriff’s office, the excavations in the residential complex have been stopped “until further notice” and Dr. Rick Snow of the Coroner’s Bureau examined the remains and the location.

“After his examinations, Dr. Snow concluded that the remains are those of an Indian man of unknown age, ”said the sheriff’s press release. “The collected remains are not a complete skeleton, most of the bones are fragmented and much of the bones of the hands and feet are missing.”

Brett Chapman (Pawnee), a Tulsa, Oklahoma attorney and descendant of Ponca Chief White Eagle, said part of the media response to the discovery is “part of a broader context in which Native American remains are viewed as development barriers.” . “

“And you see in [the] The media coverage of it, at least in a few stories I’ve seen, made it sound like this development that is destroying these remains that has been around who knows how long, that this is an unfortunate event for these rich people who building this big mansion building out there, ”said Chapman. “And that’s just the completely wrong way of looking at things like that.”

According to the Chumash tribe’s website, the tribe’s territory once spanned over 7,000 square miles from the beaches of Malibu to Paso Robles, California, an area that includes Montecito. After a Spanish land expedition and five Spanish missions reached the land of Chumash in 1769, the Chumash population was “almost decimated, mainly due to the introduction of European diseases”. The Santa Ynez Reservation in Santa Barbara County currently covers 2.34 square miles, according to the website.

The Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC) is responsible for determining which Native California tribe is the “most likely descendant” of the remains discovered in Montecito, according to the NAHC website. Under California law, the tribe will have 48 hours after they have been granted access to the site to inspect the remains and recommend what to do with the remains, and the landowner will discuss “any reasonable” options that the tribe may Tribe preferred.

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About the author

Author: Andrew Kennard

Reporting intern

Andrew Kennard is a reporting intern for Native News Online. Kennard is studying multimedia journalism at Drake University and has worked as a staff writer for the Times-Delphic, the weekly paper produced by Drake’s students. This fall, he will be working as the Times-Delphic news editor.