Dozens of Native American remains found on UND campus

They were found in a closet on campus earlier this year.
University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks, ND.
University of North Dakota campus in Grand Forks, ND.(Valley News Live)
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 11:08 AM CDT
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The University of North Dakota’s President Andrew Armacost says the school found Native American remains on campus. They were found in a closet on campus earlier this year.

Armacost says, while looking for a missing sacred item on campus, they discovered several artifacts and ancestral remains. He estimates the remains can be measured in the dozens. Including other sacred artifacts, they have more than 250 boxes on the UND campus.

“Coming on the heels of other recent revelations about historic wrongs inflicted on Indigenous people in the United States and Canada, members of our tribal communities in the region will undoubtedly be deeply affected by this news from UND. While I cannot take away their pain, I can apologize on behalf of UND for our mistakes,” Armacost said.

He says the school immediately reached out to representatives from area tribes, collaborating with them and seeking advice for more than four months to “...make certain this work is done correctly.” In a recent visit to the UND campus, tribal leaders blessed spaces where the ancestors and sacred items were stored and found.

Armacost says the response from each tribal representative has been common, “Anger, sadness, acceptance of our apologies, and appreciation that we are involving them from the outset of this work.”

They say their goal is to work diligently until all ancestors and sacred objects are returned home, no matter how long it takes. UND officials are now working to connect ancestors and artifacts with their places of origin and are hiring experts to help.

Armacost says the sacred items will be returned in a manner consistent with the Native American Grave and Repatriation Act, involving tribal nations, as well as federal and state agencies.

Professor Doug McDonald runs the UND Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYED) program, and he and his team are available with counseling services in support of Native American students, faculty, and staff. They can be reached at 701-777-4495 or 4497. The University Counseling Center also provides great support to students, and you can reach them at 701-777-2127.

UND has launched a repatriation webpage that explains UND’s repatriation process to date. It also includes an email address,, to send your repatriation-related questions, as well as frequently asked questions and answers on repatriation.

Governor Doug Burgum released a statement Wednesday saying: