CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) — Remains exhumed from a cemetery at a U.S. Army base in Pennsylvania do not belong to the Native American teenager recorded to have been buried there more than a century ago, the military said.
The Army is disinterring the remains of eight Native American children who died at the government-run Carlisle Indian Industrial School, and plans to transfer custody to the children’s closest living relatives.
On Saturday, the Army exhumed grave B-13, thought to belong to Wade Ayres of the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, who died in 1904. The remains did not match those of a male aged 13 or 14, but instead were found to be consistent with a female aged 15 to 20, the Army said in a statement.
The girl’s remains were reinterred in the same grave on Monday and marked unknown.
“The Army is committed to seeking more information in an effort to determine where the remains of Wade Ayres are buried so that he may be returned to his family and the Catawba nation,” the Army said.
A message was left with Catawba officials on Tuesday seeking additional information.
The disinterment process began earlier this month and is the fifth at Carlisle since 2017. More than 20 sets of Native American remains were transferred to family members in earlier rounds.
More than 10,000 children from more than 140 tribes passed through Carlisle Indian Industrial School between 1879 and 1918, including famous Olympian Jim Thorpe, as part of a U.S. policy to force Native American children to assimilate to white society.
The school took steps to separate the students from their culture, cutting their braids, dressing them in military-style uniforms and punishing them for speaking their native languages.
Some 186 children originally were buried in the cemetery at the site.
In 2017, a grave thought to belong to a 10-year-old Native American child actually contained two sets of remains, from a teenage male and a person of undetermined age and sex.