Charrier (plaintiff) excavated a number of artifacts from a previously undiscovered ancient burial ground at the Trudeau Plantation in Louisiana. He had no relation or connection with the plantation other than his desire to excavate. Charrier then attempted to sell the artifacts, but potential buyers were concerned that Charrier was not their true owner. Charrier filed suit against the owners of Trudeau Plantation in order to get a declaratory judgment that he was the owner of the artifacts. The trial court held that the Tunica-Biloxi Indians were the lawful owners of the artifacts because they were descendants of the inhabitants of the Trudeau Plantation. Charrier appealed, arguing that the Indians abandoned the artifacts when they moved off the plantation.