Mohegans restore ancient burial ground

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The Connecticut tribe has reclaimed the Mohegan Royal Burial Ground and is restoring it to pay homage to its famed Chief Uncas and his descendants, who were mythologized in James Fenimore Cooper's 1826 work.

The Mohegans operate one of the world's most successful casinos and are among about 50 tribes in the U.S. that have managed to reclaim burial grounds or other sacred sites, said Suzan Harjo, president of the Morning Star Institute, an Indian rights organization in Washington.

In recent years, the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes have preserved a massacre site in Colorado, while the Nez Perce have taken control of worship sites in Idaho, Harjo said. Several tribes in California who operate casinos also have reclaimed burial grounds, she said.

'More and more, the native people are using newfound wealth to purchase what should be theirs anyway,' Harjo said.

But several hundred burial grounds and other sacred sites remain threatened by development, according to Harjo.

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