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Speaker 2

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Nicholas Bellantoni, Ph.D.

Connecticut State Archaeologist

Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, University of Connecticut

Written Testimony in Support of Bill 5141


By way of introduction, I serve as archaeologist for the State of Connecticut per C.G.S. Sec: 10a-112. Among our many roles and responsibilities in the preservation and protection of the state’s archaeological heritage is coordinating and actively working with the Native American community in regards to sacred sites and burials per C.G.S. Sec. 10-388 et. seq. As State Archaeologist, I have been involved with Native American affairs in the state for over 20 years.


In this regard, I am writing to express my support for Proposed Bill 5141 that creates a Commission on Native American Indian Affairs. This legislation is important for a number of reasons, including establishing a necessary voice for the state’s Native American Indians in education, support services and issues raised by the media. This Bill will assist non-recognized groups and Native Americans living in our state achieve a representative voice and develop suitable needs and services to improve the quality of life on the reservations and the community. Unlike other minorities, this “voice” that has little representation over the last twenty years.


As State Archaeologist, I look forward to working with the “Commission” in preserving and protecting Native American archaeological sites and heritage, especially, sacred sites and burials that may be threatened by economic development projects and vandalism. In addition, we meet regularly and consult with the Native American Heritage Advisory Council (NAHAC). I know that NAHAC representatives and myself would welcome the Commission’s assistance in protecting archaeological and historic sites that testify to the over 11,000 years of Native American occupation of Connecticut.


In addition, we support the alternate language presented by Representative Sharkey during the Public Hearing on 2/25. 


Thank you for your consideration of this important piece of state legislation and please feel free to contact me at the University of Connecticut should you have any questions.



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