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NASW-ND Statement on the Uncovering of UND Tribal Remains

Written in collaboration with NASW-ND’s Northeast Region Representative, Katie Dachtler

NASW-ND Statement on the Uncovering of UND Tribal Remains

The National Association of Social Workers, North Dakota Chapter (NASW-ND) was appalled to hear of the Indigenous ancestral remains of 70 relatives and numerous artifacts desecrated in 250 boxes on the University of North Dakota (UND) campus. We acknowledge the university’s turbulent history with tribal nations and the suffering that these findings raise. We grieve alongside our sovereign nations. While we know that another apology does not begin to ease the pain inflicted, we are committed to amplifying your needs and wants throughout the repatriation process as well as support your healing and well-being.

We recognize the wise words of Winona LaDuke in stating: “[t]here is no social-change fairy. There is only change made by the hands of individuals.” As social workers bound to our profession’s ethical standards and the values in our code, the importance of human relationships highlighting our responsibility to uphold each person’s dignity and worth was grossly violated. We hope this statement is a call to social workers to come alongside our Native colleagues and communities to boldly pursue truth and accountability in the upcoming months through reconciliation and repatriation of elders back to their rightful homes.

This statement was created in collaboration with NASW-ND’s Northeast Region Representative, Katie Dachtler. 


22.09.15 NY Times: Congress Told Colleges to Return Native Remains. What’s Taking So Long?

22.09.12 NPR: The University of North Dakota will return Native American remains to tribal homes

22.09.02 University of North Dakota President Statement: Statement to the Campus Community

22.08.31 Valley News: Dozens of Native American remains found on UND campus

22.08.31 Native News Online: University of North Dakota Discovers Undocumented Native American Remains, Indigenous Objects on Campus


The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with over 120,000 members. The NASW-North Dakota Chapter is represents thousands of licensed North Dakota social workers and school social workers. NASW strives to advance social work careers, protect the profession, and advocate on behalf of social work clients.


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