FR Doc E8-3457[Federal Register: February 25, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 37)]
[Page 10051]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



National Park Service
Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: Alaska State 
Museum, Juneau, AK

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 Alaska State 
Museum, Juneau, AK, 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 one cultural item is the Woodzix[eacute]edi Gooch Naazein 
Kud[aacute]s' or Multiplying Wolf Tunic (ASM catalogue number II-B-
1356). The tunic is woven in the Chilkat technique, made by an unknown 
weaver in the style common in the late 19th century. The one-piece, 
sleeveless tunic is worn draped over the shoulders and over other 
clothing by both men and women. It has a figurative design of wolves 
woven on the front and geometric designs on the back. One side of the 
tunic is permanently closed, while the other side closes with leather 
ties. The tunic is hand woven from cedar bark, mountain goat wool, and 
commercial wool, and the design figures are dyed black, blue, and 
yellow, on a natural white background.
    The "multiplying wolf" design depicted on the tunic is a primary 
crest of the Wolf House of the Kaagwaantaan clan of Sitka, AK. The 
ceremonial use of the tunic by members of the Wolf House is documented 
in photos from the late 19th century to early 20th century. Several 
images show the tunic being worn by Jake Yarquan (Yaak waan), a leader 
of the Wolf House who was most likely the caretaker of the tunic. 
Following Mr. Yarquan's death, the tunic was purchased from his widow, 
Lily Yarkwan, by the Historical Library and Museum Commission, and 
donated to the Alaska Historical Library and Museum, Territory of 
Alaska (now known as the Alaska State Museum).
    Under Tlingit law, the tunic is considered at.oow of the Wolf House 
of the Sitka Kaagwaantaan, and is by definition the property of the 
group. Based on Tlingit law, the tunic is an object of cultural 
patrimony and has ongoing cultural importance to the clan. While at.oow 
is cared for by a clan leader it remains communal property. In this 
case, the tunic was alienated by the widow of the caretaker, Lily 
Yarkwan, who belonged to another clan. According to museum records, 
Mrs. Yarkwan presented herself as legal owner of the tunic to museum 
officials, who subsequently purchased it in good faith. There is no 
evidence that the Wolf House itself was directly involved in the 
alienation or that the transaction was handled in accordance with 
Tlingit law.
    The Alaska State Museum has received claims for this object by the 
Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes (on behalf of Mr. Andrew 
Gamble, a leader of the Wolf House), and by the Sitka Tribe of Alaska 
(on behalf of Mr. Herman Kitka, a clan leader of the Wolf House). 
During consultation with the tribes and clan officials, the parties 
presented similar information on the details, meaning, and history of 
the tunic, as well as traditional Tlingit law, but differed regarding 
the present leadership of the Wolf House. All parties agreed that the 
tunic is an object of cultural patrimony and was alienated without the 
consent of the Wolf House.
    Officials of the Alaska State Museum have determined that, pursuant 
to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(D), the tunic 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 Alaska State Museum also have determined that, 
pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (13), the museum does not have right of 
possession to the object of cultural patrimony. Lastly, officials of 
the Alaska State Museum 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 
Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes and Sitka Tribe of 
Alaska, both acting on behalf of leaders of the Wolf House of the Sitka 
Kaagwaantaan clan.
    Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to 
be culturally affiliated with the object of cultural patrimony should 
contact Mr. Bruce Kato, Chief Curator, Alaska State Museum, 395 
Whittier Street, Juneau, AK 99801-1718, telephone (907) 465-2901, 
before March 26, 2008. Repatriation of the object of cultural patrimony 
to the Central Council of the Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes and/or 
Sitka Tribe of Alaska, on behalf of the Wolf House of the Sitka 
Kaagwaantaan clan, may proceed after that date if no additional 
claimants come forward.

    Dated: January 22, 2008
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E8-3457 Filed 2-22-08; 8:45 am]


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