FR Doc E7-16785
[Federal Register: August 24, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 164)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
National Park Service
Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: Denver Museum of
Nature & Science, Denver, CO
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 a cultural item in the possession of the Denver Museum of
Nature & Science, Denver, CO, which 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
items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the
determinations in this notice.
The cultural item is a Killerwhale Flotilla Chilkat Robe, which is
also called a blanket, as the two terms are used interchangeably to
describe the item (A705.1). The robe is a shoulder blanket style in a
two-dimensional flat textile widely rectangular at the top and sides
and sloping at the base toward the center, so that it is broadly
shield-shaped. The fabric was created by means of twined weaving in
handspun mountain goat wool and yellow cedar bark, which is a technique
known as Chilkat twining from its specialty production by Chilkat
Tlingit women. The robe is draped loosely over the shoulders, falling
to mid-legs and tied across the chest with sewn-on ties or held closed
with the hands. The white design field of the entire blanket is filled
with twelve black bordered rectangular segments, each containing a
stylized side-view killerwhale motif featuring a prominent fin on the
back. Black form lines enclose and detail the X-ray views of whale ribs
and body parts, highlighted with natural dyed yellow and green. The
whale heads are toward the blanket center. A wide black border
encircles the blanket. Long fringes of alternating white and green
twisted wool and cedar bark sections rim the side and basal edges.
In approximately 1890, the cultural item was made by a master
weaver, a woman named Cacaydayat, during the succession of Gush Tlein
as Shakes VI (1878-1916). After the death of Shakes VI in 1916, the
robe passed in valid succession to Shakes VII, Charlie Jones or
X'adaaneik and Kaax'eishge, though not formally recognized in ceremony
until 1940. Sometime before his death in 1944, Shakes VII sold the robe
to Mr. Waters, a dentist from Seattle, WA, although museum records
state that the robe was sold "around 1945-46." Mrs. Amy K. Churchill
of Wrangell, AK, whose father James Bradley was a claimant to the
Shakes VIII title, but neither one a Naanya'aayi Clan member, purchased
the robe from Mr. Waters at an unknown date after 1944. Mrs. Emma Frost
of Oregon City, OR, inherited the robe from her mother Mrs. Churchill
around 1965. In August 1973, Mrs. Frost sold the robe to Michael R.
Johnson and Sharon M. Johnson, collectors and art dealers of Bellevue,
WA. In October 1973, Mr. and Mrs. Kernon Weckbaugh of Denver, CO,
purchased the robe from the Johnsons and donated the robe to the
During consultation, representatives of the Central Council of
Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes gave evidence of the robe as clan
"treasured property" and also recounted its place in clan belief and
ceremonial practice. The robe is identified as an item of Chilkat
regalia among the most valued of ceremonial clothing used in funerary
rites and is high status apparel at traditional ceremonies and
potlatches. The robe is required for the ceremonial rites conducted to
renew and ensure the spiritual harmony of the Tlingit people. The
Clan's right of possession was explained at length through a line of
family-member caretakers succeeding Shakes VI, as well as unauthorized
holders. Earlier Killerwhale Robes of the Clan, not traced explicitly,
would have been associated with the lineage of Shakes chiefs. The robe
is not owned by a single individual, instead there are designated
caretakers and belongs to the clan as a whole, and therefore it could
not have been alienated by a single individual. The clan that takes
care of the robe and this particular Killerwhale pattern is the
Naanya.aayi Clan, represented in this claim by the Central Council of
Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes.
Officials of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science have determined
that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(D), the one cultural item has
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 Denver Museum of Nature & Science also
have determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (2), there is a
relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced
between the object of cultural patrimony and the Central Council of the
Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes.
Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to
be culturally affiliated with the object of cultural patrimony should
contact Dr. Stephen Nash, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Denver
Museum of Nature & Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205,
telephone (303) 370-6056, before September 24, 2007. Repatriation of
the cultural item to the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian
Tribes on behalf of the Naanya.aayi Clan may proceed after that date if
no additional claimants come forward.
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is responsible for notifying
the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes that this
notice has been published.
Dated: August 8, 2007.
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E7-16785 Filed 8-23-07; 8:45 am]
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