Associated Cultures: Cheyenne River Sioux, Two Kettles Lakota Sioux, Sioux
This report summarizes the documentation for the remains of Ish-ta Cha-ne-aha ("Puffing Eyes"), a chief of the Oo'henumpa ("Two Kettles") Lakota. The remains of Chief Puffing Eyes were originally included in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe's 1993 request for the return of all human remains and artifacts associated with the four Lakota bands currently residing on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The lineal descendants of Chief Puffing Eyes later decided to make a separate request for their ancestor's remains. Mr. Trini Bird Necklace, the family's designated liaison to the Repatriation Office, National Museum of Natural History, presented a formal request for the repatriation of Puffing Eyes' remains and any associated funerary objects, signed by all the family members. Thus, all lineal descendants were aware of and party to the current claim. The Tribal Chairman provided a letter verifying the tribe's support of the family's claim. The family also supplied their genealogy back to Chief Puffing Eyes.
Examination of museum and archival records confirmed the identity of the remains as Puffing Eyes. The remains were released in 1994 to Mr. Arvol Looking Horse, Keeper of the Pipe, on behalf of the family. No funerary objects or other cultural materials were present.
Documentation carried out in 1996 for a different repatriation case resulted in the discovery of a skeletal element that was recognized as belonging to Chief Puffing Eyes. This element (the mandible) had become separated from the rest of the remains (the cranium) during a transfer of skeletal collections from the Army Medical Museum to the National Museum of Natural History around the turn of the century. The association of the mandible with the cranium was confirmed through examination of notations the collector had made on the bone. The mandible was returned to the descendants of Chief Puffing Eyes in 1996.
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