FR Doc E6-13690
[Federal Register: August 18, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 160)]
[Page 47829]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



National Park Service

Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: Thomas Burke 
Memorial Washington State Museum, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent 
to repatriate a cultural item in the possession of the Thomas Burke 
Memorial Washington State Museum (Burke Museum), University of 
Washington, Seattle, WA, that meets the definition of ``object of 
cultural patrimony'' 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 cultural item is a large stone sculpture (Burke catalog 
152), referred to by the Chilliwack community, which includes 
the Nooksack people, as the ``Stone T'ixwelatsa.'' The sculpture has 
anthropomorphic and zoomorphic features carved and pecked into the 
stone. The head includes large eyes and an open mouth with exaggerated 
lips. The main body of the figure appears to be seated with flexed arms 
and legs. A ridge with six protruding grooves is present on the back of 
the figure, and a small circular depression is present on the top of 
the head. The figure weighs over 100 pounds.
    According to Chilliwack and Nooksack oral history, T'ixwelatsa was 
a man turned into stone by the transformer Xa:ls. T'ixwelatsa was the 
first male ancestor of the Chilliwack community. The Chilliwack 
historically spoke a Nooksack related language. The Chilliwack share a 
common ancestry and cultural connection with the Nooksack. The 
sculpture is considered a transformation object that holds the spirit 
of T'ixwelatsa, and Xa:ls gave the transformed stone form to 
T'ixwelatsa's wife as the original caretaker. The stone T'ixwelatsa was 
placed in front of the longhouse and cared for by the descendants of 
T'ixwelatsa. At an unknown date, one of the subsequent caretakers 
married into the neighboring Sumas tribe and took the stone with her as 
part of her continuing caretaking responsibilities.
    The cultural item is believed to have been removed from the Fraser 
Plains, near Sumas, Whatcom County, WA, in 1892. It was donated to the 
museum by the Young Naturalist Society (Burke Accn.  190). At 
the time of removal from the Fraser Plains, the cultural item was 
considered inalienable by a single individual and was removed without 
the permission of the caretaker or Tixwelatsa's descendants.
    The Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington is considered a member of 
the broader Chilliwack community, which includes both American and 
Canadian Chilliwack communities. Ties between the Chilliwack 
communities were artificially divided by the creation of the United 
States and Canadian border in 1858. Despite this separation, the 
Nooksack continue to maintain a strong relationship with the Canadian 
Chilliwack community. The ``Stone T'ixwelatsa'' is culturally 
affiliated with the Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington, as part of the 
Chilliwack community, based on religious, geographic, kinship, and oral 
history information presented by the tribe. Evidence submitted during 
consultation supports the central importance of this cultural item to 
the cultural identity of the Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington and 
broader Chilliwack community. The cultural item is considered 
collective property of the Chilliwack community and serves as a 
significant part of the cultural model for education.
    Officials of the Burke Museum have determined that, pursuant to 25 
U.S.C. 3001 (3)(D), the cultural item described above has an ongoing 
historical, traditional, or cultural importance central to the Native 
American group or culture itself, rather than property owned by an 
individual. Officials of the Burke Museum also have determined that, 
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (2), there is a relationship of shared group 
identity that can be reasonably traced between the object of cultural 
patrimony and the Nooksack Indian Tribe of Washington.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the object of cultural patrimony should 
contact Dr. Peter Lape, Burke Museum, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, 
telephone (206) 685-2282, before September 18, 2006. Repatriation of 
the object of cultural patrimony to the Nooksack Indian Tribe of 
Washington may proceed after that date if no additional claimants come 
    The Burke Museum is responsible for notifying the Nooksack Indian 
Tribe of Washington that this notice has been published.

    Dated: July 24, 2006
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E6-13690 Filed 8-17-06; 8:45 am]


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