|THE PRAIRIELAND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
Room 141-Social Science Building
Southwest Minnesota State University
Marshall, MN 56258
E-mail Contact: [email protected]
LAWS FOR ABANDONED CEMETERIESSection 307.08 DAMAGES; ILLEGAL MOLESTATION OF HUMAN REMAINS; BURIALS; CEMETERIES; PENALTY.
Subdivision 1. It is a declaration and statement of legislative intent that all human burials and human skeletal remains shall be accorded equal treatment and respect for human dignity without reference to their ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, or religious affiliations. The provisions of this section shall apply to all human burials or human skeletal remains found on or in all public or private lands or waters in Minnesota.
Subdivision 2. A person who intentionally, willfully, and knowingly destroys, mutilates, injures, disturbs, or removes human skeletal remains or human burial grounds, is guilty of a felony. A person who intentionally, willfully, or knowingly removes any tombstone, monument, or structure placed in any public or private cemetery or unmarked human burial ground, or any fence, railing, or other work erected for protection or ornament, or any tree, shrub, or plant or grave goods and artifacts within the limits of the cemetery or burial ground, and a person who, without authority from the trustees, state archaeologist, or Indian affairs intertribal board, discharges any firearms upon or over the grounds of any public or private cemetery or authenticated and identified Indian burial ground, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
Subdivision 3. Every authenticated and identified burial ground may be posted for protective purpose every 75 feet around its perimeter with signs listing the activities prohibited by subdivision 2 and the penalty for violation of it. Posting is at the discretion of the Indian affairs council in the case of Indian burials or at the discretion of the state archaeologist in the case of non-Indian burials.
Subdivision 3a. The state archaeologist shall authenticate all burial sites for purposes of this section and may enter on property for purpose of authenticating burial sites. Only after obtaining written permission from the property owner or lessee, descendants of persons buried in burial sites covered by this section may enter the burial sites for the purpose of conducting religious ceremonies. This right of entry must not unreasonably burden property owners or unnecessarily restrict their use of the property.
Subdivision 4. The state shall retain the services of a qualified professional archaeologist, approved by the state archaeologist and the Indian affairs council, for the purpose of gathering information to authenticate or identify Indian burial grounds when requested by a concerned scientific or contemporary Indian ethnic group, when Indian burials are known or suspected to exist on public lands or waters controlled by the state or political subdivision.
Subdivision 5. The cost of authentication, identification, marking, and rescue of unmarked or unidentified burial grounds or burials shall be the responsibility of the state. The data collected by this activity that has common value for natural resource planning must be provided and integrated into the Minnesota land management information system's geographic and summary databases according to published data compatibility guidelines. Costs associated with this data delivery must be borne by the state.
Subdivision 6. The size, description and information on the signs must be approved by the Minnesota State historical society.
Subdivision 7. All unidentified human remains or burials found outside of platted, recorded, or identified cemeteries and in contexts which indicate antiquity greater than 50 years shall be dealt with according to the provisions of this section. If such burials are not Indian or their ethnic identity cannot be ascertained, as determined by the state archaeologist, they shall be dealt with in accordance with provisions established by the state archaeologist. If such burials are Indian, as determined by the state archaeologist, efforts shall be made by the state archaeologist and the Indian affairs council to ascertain their tribal identity. If their probable tribal identity can be determined, such remains shall be the discretion of the state archaeologist and Indian affairs council, be turned over to contemporary tribal leaders for disposition. If it is deemed desirable by the state archaeologist or the Indian affairs council, such remains shall be studied by a qualified professional archaeologist before being delivered to the tribal leaders. If tribal identity cannot be determined, the Indian remains must be dealt with in accordance with provisions established by the state archaeologist and the Indian affairs council.
Subdivision 8. No authenticated and identified Indian burial group may be relocated unless the request to relocate is approved by the Indian affairs intertribal board. When the Indian burial ground is located on public lands or waters, the cost or removal is the responsibility of and shall be paid by the state or political subdivision controlling the lands or waters. If large Indian burial grounds are involved, efforts shall be made by the state to purchase and protect them instead of removing them to another location.
Subdivision 9. The department of natural resources, the department of transportation, and all other state agencies and local governmental units whose activities may be affected, shall cooperate with the state archaeologist and the Indian affairs intertribal board to carry out the provisions of this section.
Subdivision 10. When Indian burials are known or suspected to exist, on public lands or waters, the state or political subdivision controlling the lands or waters shall submit construction and development plans to the state archaeologist and the Indian affairs intertribal board for review prior to the time bids are advertised. The state archaeologist and the Indian affairs intertribal board shall promptly review the plans and make recommendations for the preservation or removal of the human burials or remains, which may be endangered by construction or development activities.
SECTION 307.082 CIVIL ACTIONS
Subdivision 1. Who may bring. An action under this section may be maintained by the attorney general; a state agency or political subdivision; an individual residing within this state; or a partnership, corporation, association, company, or other entity with shareholders, members, partners, or employees residing within this state.
Subdivision 2. Action. A person or entity listed in subdivision 1 may maintain a civil action seeking a temporary or permanent injunction, damages, or other appropriate relief against a person who is alleged to have committed a violation of section 307.08, subdivision 2. The action must be brought within two years after the alleged violation is discovered and reported to the state archaeologist or the Indian affairs council. The action must be filed in either the district court of the county in which the subject burial ground is located or in which the defendant resides.