YUBA CITY — An extraordinarily wet winter and massive outflows from Lake Oroville have laid bare human remains embedded in the banks of the Feather River north of Yuba City.
“There’s the jaw bone, teeth — a couple of molars. There was a skull,” said Melinda Cargile, who discovered the remains.
Cargile and her partner Mark Drummon were walking along the Feather River, once swollen by massive outflows from Lake Oroville and its busted dam but now receding, when they found the remains.
“It blew my mind,” Cargile said.
Cargile said among the skull and other bone fragments, there was something different.
“It looked like a little hand,” Cargile said.
The little hand from a child made it clear to Cargile that more than one person was buried there — possibly a whole family.
“The anthropology department at Chico State University identified it as Indian bones,” said Sutter County Undersheriff Jeff Pierce.
The Sutter County Sheriff’s Department has contacted the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This isn’t the first time an old burial ground has opened up along this stretch of river, but it has been awhile.
“I’m still in shock. I just don’t know… I just feel they need to be found. They deserve and their families deserve to give them a proper burial,” Cargile said.
Bureau of Indian Affairs representatives say they will collect the remains, and re-inter them in accordance with Maidu beliefs and traditions.