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Navajo appeals ruling in exhumed remains case

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation is appealing a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit that sought to have remains exhumed from Canyon de Chelly returned to the tribe.

The tribe had argued in a 2011 lawsuit that hundreds of sets of human remains and associated funerary objects taken from the national monument near Chinle are tribal property.

The National Park Service countered that the lawsuit was premature because the agency hasn't figured out whether other tribes have cultural affiliations to the items. The agency says a determination is needed before they can be repatriated.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Rosenblatt agreed in a February ruling and dismissed the case.

The Navajo Nation is challenging the ruling with the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

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