Harvard holds human remains of enslaved individuals, Native Americans: report – NBC Boston
Harvard University still has the remains of at least 19 people who were likely enslaved and nearly 7,000 Native Americans, according to the school newspaper.
The Harvard Crimson cited a leaked draft report from the university’s committee investigating how Harvard should treat human remains in its museum collections. Many remains are kept at the Peabody Museum of Ethnology and Archaeology.
This report shows that Harvard holds the remains despite a decades-old federal law that requires institutions that accept federal funding to return Native American remains and cultural objects to their tribes and descendants.
Professor Evelynn Hammonds, chair of the university’s steering committee on human remains, criticized the Harvard Crimson for reporting an “initial and incomplete draft report”. She said the final report should be released at a later date.
The news comes about a month after the Ivy League school pledged to spend $100 million to research and atone for its close ties to slavery.
This announcement coincided with the release of a report detailing many of the ways the college profited from slavery and perpetuated racial inequality.
The report, commissioned by President Lawrence Bacow, found that Harvard faculty, staff and leaders had enslaved more than 70 black and Native Americans since the school’s founding from 1636 to 1783. It warns that the figure is “almost certainly an undercount”. Using historical records, researchers were able to identify dozens of slaves by name, as well as their connection to the university.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.