SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District and the University of California, Berkeley, have successfully repatriated 20 human remains and 136 objects of historical, traditional and cultural importance to the Wiyot Tribe of Loleta, Calif.
The collection resided in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. The remains and associated items were uncovered in 1946 during construction activities related to the Humboldt Bay Jetties, which were built by the Corps. A cultural affiliation study conducted by Statistical Research Inc. for the Corps found the human remains were likely to be lineal descendants of the Wiyot people, based on ethnographic, linguistic, osteological and archaeological data. Further research conducted by UC Berkeley in 2021 indicated that these individuals were likely victims of the Indian Island Massacre, which took place on Feb. 26, 1860, when settlers attacked numerous Wiyot villages.