Mass Graves Oversight Committee Concerned About Communication With City Of Tulsa

Wednesday, August 4th 2021, 7:52 pm
By: Emory Bryan

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Some members of the 1921 Mass Grave Oversight Committee said communication is breaking down between them and the city.

They objected to the reburial of remains at Oaklawn Cemetery last week.

Related Story: Confusion, Anger At Oaklawn Cemetery During Reburial Ceremony

Some members of Tulsa's Mass Gave Oversight Committee are upset that remains were reburied despite their objections. Though there was a long-established plan to eventually return the remains to Oaklawn, the dispute centers on when they should have been reburied.

Three members of the committee believe there should have been results from the investigation released before the burial.

The city buried the exhumed remains last Friday, with a brief ceremony that was not open to the public.

Related Story: City Of Tulsa To Hold Private Interment Ceremony For Remains Exhumed During 1921 Graves Investigation

A small group of committee members was present, while others stayed away. A group kept outside the fence of the cemetery argued they should have been allowed in.

Forensic work on the physical remains was completed, though results from DNA and other analysis are not complete. Without results and potential matches, it's unknown whether the remains are connected to the race massacre. They were buried in an area of Oaklawn Cemetery with mostly unmarked graves.

"We're thinking we're the oversight committee and we voted to postpone it and we weren't heard," said Kristi Williams, a member of the Committee. "It's disappointing, it's disrespectful and it's just not right." 

The City has said if the remains are eventually connected to living descendants, it's possible they could be exhumed again and returned to the families.