The Osage Nation Historic Preservation Office (ONHPO) receives many calls and emails about what to do with artifacts found in Osage County and throughout Osage Ancestral Territory. The best option is to Leave It In Place. These artifacts are not souvenirs or collector’s items; they are the material cultural of the Osage people throughout time and space. Cultural resources should not be removed from their original context. These artifacts may have ongoing cultural, historic, and/or ceremonial importance to the Osage Nation. It is illegal for anyone, non-Indian or Indian, to take artifacts from federal or Indian lands (Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979). Here are a few simple steps to follow if you find artifacts on federal, tribal, state, or private property:
1. PHOTOGRAPH - Take a picture of the item just as you found it, do NOT remove any artifacts from their context
2. RECORD - Record the precise location so that you can report location information with the photo to the ONHPO via email at @email
3. REPORT - If you see someone illegally removing artifacts or digging for artifacts on Osage Nation property, contact the Osage Nation Police Department at 918-287-5510 to report trespassing and looting.
REPORT - If you find an artifact on public lands (like a National Park or National Forest), email a picture and the location to the ranger or park archaeologist
REPORT - If you find an artifact on your own property in Osage County, stop and contact the ONHPO. If you find an artifact on your property outside of Osage County, contact your state archaeologist or historic preservation office for guidance since every state’s resource laws differ.
State Historic Preservation Offices in Osage Ancestral Territory:
4. KEEP IT PRIVATE - NEVER post information on social media – don’t allow dishonest people to steal and loot irreplaceable culture.