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Assistant director of Utah Dine Bikeyah appointed to Native American graves panel

SHARE Assistant director of Utah Dine Bikeyah appointed to Native American graves panel
FILE - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday, May 10, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Zinke has appointed Honor Keeler, assistant director for Utah Dine Bikeyah, to the Native American Gra

FILE - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifies at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Thursday, May 10, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Zinke has appointed Honor Keeler, assistant director for Utah Dine Bikeyah, to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee.

Jacquelyn Martin, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has appointed Honor Keeler, assistant director for Utah Dine Bikeyah, to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee.

As a member of the seven-person committee, Keeler will help monitor, review and assist in the implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.

Members of the committee are appointed by the interior secretary to serve two- to four-year terms. The nominations come from Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, Native American cultural and religious leaders, and national museum and scientific organizations. The panel is led by Armand Minthorn, of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

“The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee exists because of a dark period in U.S. history when the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples was not obtained, and the graves and funerary objects of their families and ancestors were disturbed and stolen,” Keeler, who cited ongoing looting issues happening at Bears Ears National Monument, said in a statement.

“Repatriation is important and difficult work. It involves bringing forward injustice and intergenerational trauma for many tribes. And for many institutions, the repatriation process causes a deep reflection of institutional history and current practices,” Keeler said.