Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to Give Back Items

Massachusetts museum returns sacred items to Sioux tribes

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BOSTON (AP) – It’s been a month since the Boston Museum of Science returned dozens of sacred items to the Standing Rock Sioux tribal nation in North Dakota. That’s how long it’s been since the museum began a yearlong process of giving the items back.

Over the past several weeks, tribe members have said they feel good about getting access to a few of the artifacts that were in the museum’s vaults from the 1980s. They feel they got an apology from the museum about a painting by artist Andrew Wyeth that was once included in its collection.

The tribe has requested a few things from the museum, which returned the items at the beginning of the month, including a large ceremonial pipe, a skull of a Native American in a traditional style, and a painting by Wyeth.

On Friday, the tribe will present the museum with a plaque it designed to commemorate the objects and have the items placed at the museum.

The museum is hoping to get back the sacred items next week.

“We’re actually really excited about these items,” museum vice president and director of exhibits Amy Purdy told the Telegram & Gazette. Purdy was not in the Boston office but said she learned of the tribe’s plans to present the museum with a plaque after the museum’s news conference Friday.

“We would really like to give them a little something,” she said.

The tribe’s chief said he felt the Museum of Science was “not giving back these items in a timely manner.” He doesn’t know how long it might take to give the items back, if it takes that long.

That’s what it would take for the items to reach the tribe, which does not have a museum of its own. The tribe’s chief recently told the Telegram & Gazette that his reservation is in between Sioux City and Sioux Falls, so he doesn’t have easy access to the museums there. He said he wants to give the tribe back the items but wants to find out whether the museum can return the items before then.

“I’d like to offer them an apology,” Purdy told the Telegram

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