AP

Army: Disinterred remains do not match Native American boy

Jun 20, 2022, 8:31 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2022, 2:59 pm

A grave marked Wade Ayres is seen at the cemetery of the U.S. Army's Carlisle Barracks on June 10, ...

A grave marked Wade Ayres is seen at the cemetery of the U.S. Army's Carlisle Barracks on June 10, 2022, in Carlisle, Pa. On Saturday, the Army exhumed the grave, thought to belong to 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. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The tombstone bore the name of Wade Ayres, a Native American boy who died at a government-run boarding school in Pennsylvania more than a century ago and was thought to have been buried on the grounds of what is now a U.S. Army base.

But when the Army exhumed grave B-13 over on Saturday, intending to repatriate the boy’s remains to the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, they did not match those of a male age 13 or 14. Instead, they belonged to a female age 15 to 20, the Army said in a statement.

Her remains were reburied 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.

Messages were sent to Catawba and Army officials on Tuesday seeking more information about efforts to locate Wade. It was also unclear whether the Army is seeking to match the unidentified female to a tribe.

The discovery came as the Army disinters the remains of eight Native American children who died at the government-run Carlisle Indian Industrial School. The disinterment process began earlier this month and is the fifth such project at Carlisle, the home of the U.S. Army War College.

So far, the Army has disinterred four of the children, with two already returned to family members, one reburied and one to be repatriated pending analysis, according to Renea Yates, director of the Office of Army Cemeteries.

The Army has transferred remains of a total of 23 Native American children from Carlisle in recent years, but its repatriation efforts have not always gone as planned.

In 2017, disinterred remains were not consistent with the identity of the child recorded to have been buried in that plot. Yates said Tuesday that Army research determined a headstone had been set over the wrong grave. “The correct child was disinterred and returned to their family and tribe the following year in 2018,” she said in a written statement.

There could be a number of reasons why remains do not match cemetery records, including shifting ground, poor record-keeping and a mixup at the time of burial, said University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle.

“Unfortunately, it happens all the time,” Kimmerle said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I’ve probably done 40 different exhumations in known, existing cemeteries and every cemetery had issues.”

The Carlisle cemetery was relocated in 1927 to make way for new construction at the base, according to the Carlisle Indian School Digital Resource Center at Dickinson College. Kimmerle said it’s possible that graves were switched at that time. She said she suspects Wade might be buried nearby.

More than 10,000 children from more than 140 tribes passed through the Carlisle 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 sought to separate Native children from their cultures, 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.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

13 hours ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

2 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

2 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

3 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

4 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

5 days ago

Army: Disinterred remains do not match Native American boy