FR Doc E6-7200
[Federal Register: May 11, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 91)]
[Page 27511-27512]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: Minnesota 
Historical Society, St. Paul, MN

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act, 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent to 
repatriate a cultural item in the possession of the Minnesota 
Historical Society, St. Paul, MN, that meets the definition of "sacred 
object" under 25 U.S.C. 3001.
    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003 (d)(3). 
The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the 
museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the cultural 
item. The National Park Service is not responsible for the 
determinations in this notice.
    The one cultural item is a tree-dweller effigy figure 
(6277.1). It is approximately 6 inches in height carved from 
birch or possibly poplar of a male figure in Santee Sioux style. Inked 
on the back of the figure with a quill pen nib is ". . . 200 years in 
the Wabasha family."
    In 1922, the cultural item was acquired by the Minnesota Historical 
Society as a gift from the estate of Stephen Jewett, vice-president of 
the Security Bank of Faribault, Faribault, MN. The cultural item came 
into the collections wrapped in a sheet of Mueller & Faribault Real 
Estate and Financial Agents letterhead with handwritten comments by W. 
R. Faribault. It is not known how Mr. Faribault acquired the cultural 
    The cultural item is specifically documented in Plains Indian 
Sculpture: A Traditional Art from America's Heartland by John C. Ewers, 
which states that the cultural item ". . . must be the oldest Tree-
Dweller in any museum collection." Mr. Ewers also notes that the 
"Santee Sioux respected the supernatural powers of Canhotdan, the 
Tree-Dweller, to help or harm the hunter." Further documentation also 
notes that ". . . the owners of these images are able to make them 
dance magically during the rites of the (Medicine Dance) society . . .."
(Skinner, 1925).
    During consultation, a family genealogy was presented showing that 
Mr. Ernest Wabasha (Wabasha VI) is a lineal descendant. Other direct 
descendants of the Wabasha line are Mr. Wabasha's children and 
grandchildren: Cheyanne St. John, Forrest St. John, Leonard Wabasha, 
Theresa Wabasha, and Winona Wabasha. This claim is also supported by 
members of the extended Wabasha family: Vera Hutter and Ernestine Ryan-
Wabasha (sisters); and Jeanine Hutter, Kathy Ferdig, and Yvonne Hutter 
(nieces). It is believed the tree-dweller effigy figure may have been 
released by an individual or group that did not have the authority to 
alienate such an object from the Wabasha family or it may have been 
released to provide temporary protection for the object, as many 
members of the Wabasha family were held in the Fort Snelling internment 
camp in 1853, and many personal possessions were confiscated from 
tribal members at that time.
    Mr. Ernest Wabasha (Wabasha VI) is the recognized hereditary Chief 
of the Dakota People and of the Wabasha (Mdewakanton Dakota) family, as 
well as keeper of the sacred bundle of the Wabasha family that 
originally owned the cultural item. Mr. Wabasha has identified the 
cultural item as necessary for the continued practice of traditional 
Dakota ceremonies by present-day adherents and has claimed them as a 
lineal descendant. Furthermore, Mr. Wabasha has communicated to the 
Minnesota Historical Society that the cultural item is needed for the 
practice of on-going ceremonial and religious traditions.
    Officials of the Minnesota Historical Society have determined that, 
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(C), the cultural item described above is 
a specific ceremonial object needed by traditional Native American 
religious leaders for the practice of traditional Native American 
religions by their present-day adherents. Officials of the Minnesota 
Historical Society have also determined, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3005 
(a)(5)(A), that Mr. Ernest Wabasha (Wabasha VI) can trace his ancestry 
directly and without interruption by means of the traditional kinship 
system of the Dakota and common law system of descent to

[[Page 27512]]

a known Native American individual who controlled this cultural item.
    Any other lineal descendant or representatives of any other Indian 
tribe that believes itself to be culturally affiliated with the sacred 
object should contact Marcia G. Anderson, NAGPRA Representative, 
Minnesota Historical Society, 345 Kellogg Boulevard West, St. Paul, MN 
55102, telephone (651) 296-0150, before June 12, 2006. Repatriation of 
the sacred object to Mr. Ernest Wabasha (Wabasha VI) may proceed after 
that date if no additional claimants come forward.
    Minnesota Historical Society is responsible for notifying Kathy 
Ferdig, Jeanine Hutter, Vera Hutter, Yvonne Hutter, Ernestine Ryan-
Wabasha, Cheyanne St. John, Forrest St. John, Elroy Wabasha, Ernest 
Wabasha (Wabasha VI), Joseph Wabasha, Leonard Wabasha, Theresa Wabasha, 
Winona Wabasha, Lower Sioux Indian Community in the State of Minnesota, 
and Santee Sioux Nation, Nebraska that this notice has been published.

    Dated: May 1, 2006
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E6-7200 Filed 5-10-06; 8:45 am]


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