FR Doc E6-20701
[Federal Register: December 7, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 235)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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.
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.
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
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
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
It is currently unclear if the two woven rush mats were used only
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
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
The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is responsible for
notifying the Osage Tribe, Oklahoma that this notice has been
Dated: November 9, 2006.
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E6-20701 Filed 12-6-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-50-S
Back to the top