FR Doc E6-20701
[Federal Register: December 7, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 235)]
[Notices]               
[Page 70980-70981]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr07de06-70]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items: Peabody Museum of 
Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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    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 cultural items in the possession of the Peabody Museum of 
Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, that meet 
the definition of ``objects 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 
items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the 
determinations in this notice.
    The 15 cultural items are 2 woven rush mats used in bundle 
ceremonies and a war bundle or portable shrine, which consists of 1 
eagle claw, 1 scalp, 1 thong wrapping, 1 buffalo hair bag, 2 buckskin 
bags, 1 matting bag, 1 inner buckskin wrapper for a sacred bird, 1 band 
of buckskin, 1 sacred bird, 1 pipe, 1 bladder pouch, and 1 lot of 
tobacco.
    An assessment of the 15 cultural items was made by Peabody Museum 
of Archaeology and Ethnology staff in consultation with representatives 
of the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma.
    In 1909, M.R. Harrington sold two woven rush mats used in bundle 
ceremonies to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. 
According to museum documentation, Mr. Harrington acquired the cultural 
items in 1908 or 1909 from a Mrs. Red Corn in Oklahoma. The mats are 
described in museum documentation as Osage objects.
    In 1916, Vern N. Thornburgh sold a war bundle, also known as a 
portable shrine, to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. 
The bundle consists of 13 cultural items which are 1 eagle claw, 1 
scalp, 1 thong wrapping, 1 buffalo hair bag, 2 buckskin bags, 1 matting 
bag, 1 inner buckskin wrapper for a sacred bird, 1 band of buckskin, 1 
sacred bird, 1 pipe, 1 bladder pouch, and 1 lot of tobacco. According 
to museum documentation, Mr. Thornburgh purchased the cultural items in 
1915 or earlier from an Osage man named Mi-da-in-ga, who most likely 
belonged to the Tsi-zhu Wa-shta-ge clan of the Tsi-zhu moiety of the 
Osage tribe. Museum information indicates that Mr. Thornburgh obtained 
the cultural items in Oklahoma. The bundle is described in museum 
documentation as an Osage object.
    Historical, anthropological, and consultation evidence indicates 
that bundles and their accouterments, including mats, were specialized 
objects associated with bundle ceremonies. Objects used in bundle 
ceremonies, including primary ritual objects (bundles) and secondary 
ritual objects (which might include mats) were ceremonially made and 
consecrated and were symbolically kept by a clan on behalf of the 
tribe.
    In correspondence to Charles C. Willoughby, Peabody Museum of 
Archaeology and Ethnology director, the collector, Mr. Thornburgh, 
repeatedly pointed out that bundles were not owned by any individual 
member of the tribe, but by the tribe itself. The correpondence states 
that ``these war bundles . . . are not controlled by an individual that 
you might deal with but by the leading men of the tribe'';``this bundle 
was not owned by an individual but by the tribe, or rather controlled 
by the tribe, but was kept by an individual as a keeper for the tribe, 
and goes to make up the organization of the tribe, consisting of 
various clans''; and ``this bundle . . . belongs to the Hiln ah sha tsa 
- Red Eagle clan - other names are Yellow hand - Wah-shin pe ashi 
people, or Clan of people.'' A preponderance of the evidence thus 
indicates that the named individual, Mi-da-in-ga, was not the owner of 
the war bundle, nor was he in a position to sell it to Mr. Thornburgh. 
Consultation with tribal representatives of the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma 
supports the notion that both bundles and bundle mats were the 
responsibility of, and in the physical control of, an individual 
caretaker but were communally owned and existed for the well being of 
the group.
    It is currently unclear if the two woven rush mats were used only 
for the

[[Page 70981]]

unpacking of bundles or if they were also used as, or were intended 
also to be used as, woven rush mat bags enclosing bundles. A woven rush 
mat bag was one of several necessary, consecrated, and inalienable 
elements constituting a bundle. Consultation and historic, 
anthropological, and museum evidence suggest that, even if the mats 
were not themselves elements of a bundle, they may be considered 
``secondary'' ritual objects. In addition to primary ritual objects, 
such as bundles, the Osage tribe used many types of secondary ritual 
objects that were sanctified through consecration and were associated 
with primary ritual objects. The mats reported here were specifically 
associated with and used in bundle ceremonies and, therefore, appear to 
fit the category of secondary ritual objects. Like primary ritual 
objects, secondary objects were symbolically kept by a clan on behalf 
of the tribe, were communally owned, and existed for the well being of 
the group.
    Bundles and mats continue to play an important, ongoing role in the 
spiritual and religious identity of contemporary Osage people. 
Population decline and changing social and material conditions 
(including the spread of Christianity) in the late 19th and 20th 
centuries prompted Osage individuals to modify and reinterpret 
religious practices. Consultation with Osage tribal representatives 
clarifies that while traditional Osage spiritual and religious 
practices have meshed with Christian beliefs, elements from older 
practices, such as bundles and mats like the ones reported here, 
continue to be used and safeguarded by tribal members. For example, the 
bundle discussed here, which is documented as coming from the Tsi-zhu 
Wa-shta-ge clan, plays an ongoing role in the clan's identity as 
peacemakers, orators, and doctors.
    Based on anthropological, geographical, and historical information; 
museum records; consultation evidence; and expert opinion, there is a 
cultural affiliation between the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma and the 15 
cultural items. The specific cultural attribution of the cultural items 
in museum records indicates an affiliation to the Osage people. 
Futhermore, Oklahoma lies within the traditional territory of the Osage 
people. Consultation evidence and other research supports that 
stylistic characteristics of the cultural items reported here are 
consistent with traditional Osage forms. Present-day descendants of the 
Osage people are members of the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma.
    Officials of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology have 
determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(D), the cultural items 
have ongoing historical, traditional, and cultural importance central 
to the Native American group or culture itself, rather than property 
owned by an individual. Officials of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology 
and Ethnology 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 15 objects of cultural patrimony and the 
Osage Tribe, Oklahoma.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the objects of cultural patrimony should 
contact Patricia Capone, Repatriation Coordinator, Peabody Museum of 
Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 11 Divinity Avenue, 
Cambridge, MA 02138, telephone (617) 496-3702, before January 8, 2007. 
Repatriation of the objects of cultural patrimony to the Osage Tribe, 
Oklahoma may proceed after that date if no additional claimants come 
forward.
    The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is responsible for 
notifying the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma that this notice has been 
published.

    Dated: November 9, 2006.
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E6-20701 Filed 12-6-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4312-50-S

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