Tell NYS Lawmakers: Pass the Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act!

As we speak, burial sites are being unearthed on Long Island and upstate New York, and no protections or provisions for securing the remains are in place.

New York is one of only 3 states that do not have protection against unmarked burials. The other two are New Jersey and Wyoming. Any human remains found on private lands are not protected from desecration and/or destruction. The bodies can be destroyed with impunity and the funerary objects can be stolen and removed. There isn’t even a reporting requirement.

The Native American Graves and Protection Act (25 USC 3001, et. seq.), the federal law that protects remains on federal lands and institutions which receive federal funding, does not apply to privately held lands. A corresponding State Law is necessary to fill the gap left by existing legislation.

Contact your state lawmakers now and tell them to pass the “Unmarked Burial Site Protection Act," which is pending in the New York State Senate as S5701 and in the Assembly as A6724, during this session. The legislation will create a Burial Site Review Committee, whose responsibility will be to determine the appropriate solutions to inadvertent discovery. It will protect human remains from unfettered destruction and desecration. Just as any development must take into consideration wetlands and endangered species protection, shouldn’t human bodies be afforded the same protection?