Chase Olivarius-Mcallister
Durango Herald

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July 8, 2013
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Finding of bodies upsets Ignacio school construction

IGNACIO — How do you lose a cemetery?

According to Ignacio School District 11-JT and the La Plata County coroner, the answer is, “We don’t know yet.”

Construction workers in March uncovered four human bodies buried on school grounds in the course of building a new elementary school for the Ignacio School District.

Three months later, the district has uncovered 26 bodies around the site.

While authorities initially suspected the bodies were of Spanish origin and buried about 50 to 75 years ago, Jann Smith, La Plata County coroner, said it now appears the cemetery is multi-ethnic and dates to 100 years ago. She said some of the bodies were determined to be Native American.

Though the bodies have been taken to Fort Lewis College for further study, very little is known about the dead, and everyone from professors at FLC to Ignacio School District officials has been publicly keeping mum about the origin of the bodies, perhaps out of respect for Native American views of death and wariness of the might of the Southern Ute Tribe.

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The Summit Daily Updated Jul 8, 2013 11:39AM Published Jul 11, 2013 01:35PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.