04/25/2012 07:12 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Ancient Graves Found Near Paulatuk, N.W.T.

Some ancient graves, dating between 400 and 1,000 years old, have been discovered at Tuktut Nogait National Park near Paulatuk, N.W.T.

At least four skeletons have been found aboveground and covered with flat stones.

John Muffa Kudlak, who lives in the area, said Inuvialuit people have known about the graves for a long time.

“I have heard stories from the elders in the past that they were way before their parents,” said Kudlak.

A research project in Tuktut Nogait National Park is planned for this summer. The park’s management board met with members of the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee about including the graves in the research.

They said elders do not want the graves to be disturbed.

"Just for respect, we'd like to leave it alone and not try and touch any part of those burial sites, for research purposes or DNA testing or whatnot," said Diane Ruben, of the Paulatuk Hunters and Trappers Committee.

Tom Nesbitt, who works with the park's management board, said that settles the matter.

“There are other ways of finding the story of these people rather than excavating or disturbing the gravesites,” he said.

At most, photos will be taken of the graves to help figure out who was buried there. Nesbitt said the park management board will work with other archaeological evidence found, such as food cache sites nearby.