Navigating the complex historical, cultural, legal, and policy framework that informs projects on Native American tribal lands has long been a challenge. Historically, the U.S. federal government assumed the responsibility of tribal consultation, from the earliest days of treaty and trust relations. However, in recent years, tribal interests have intensified and gained broader recognition as tribal voices have grown stronger and are increasingly being heard.
In April 2016, the University of Utah began renovating the George Thomas building, one of eight historic structures that sits in the campus’ u-shaped President’s Circle, to become the Crocker Science Center. Soon after construction started, however, the discovery of human skeletal remains quickly halted the project.
An analysis of the remains by the state determined that they were anatomical specimen, cadaver bones that could be associated with the University’s first medical school.