"In response to questions submitted by Betsy L. Child, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the state Attorney General issued an opinion on January 5, 2005 concerning "Public Exhibition or Display of Native American Indian Human Remains." The full text of the opinion is available in PDF format at the AG's opinion website here.
The primary impact of this opinion is in the use of Native American human remains in a classroom setting -- the Tennessee AG has opined that "The use of actual Native American Indian human remains in a classroom setting constitutes 'public exhibition or display' within the meaning of Tenn. Code Ann. 11-6-117."
This section of the code prohibits such public exhibition or display -- and effectively prohibits the use of Native American skeletal remains as teaching tools in university classrooms. Affected faculty at universities in Tennessee should consult appropriate legal counsel.
This decision will (undoubtedly) be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming Current Research meeting on January 21-22 in Nashville."
Current Research in Tennessee Archaeology
17th Annual Meeting
Friday, January 21 and Saturday January 22, 2005
Ed Jones Auditorium, Ellington Agricultural Center
Edmondson Pike, Nashville, Tennessee
Tennessee Division of Archaeology
Tennessee Archaeological Advisory Council
Middle Tennessee State University