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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Inventory and Assessment of Unassociated Funerary Objects from Umatilla, Oregon, in the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Plateau
Associated Cultures: Umatilla

This report is an evaluation of 18 cultural objects in the ethnological collections of the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) to determine if they are eligible for repatriation under the National Museum of the American Indian Act.  The report provides an analysis of available documentation of the objects in NMNH records, in conjunction with historical and cultural information from archival and published sources.  Information provided by the requesting Native American tribes relevant to the assessment of the cultural affiliation of the objects and their status as funerary objects under the law was also used.   

Eighteen beads on a single rawhide string are requested as unassociated funerary objects by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).  These beads were recently identified as potential funerary objects and fall under a prior claim submitted by the CTUIR in 2002.  

The beads were acquired by Emile Granier sometime prior to his sale of these and numerous other Native American objects to the NMNH in 1898.  The only provenience information available is an original tag attached to the beads which indicated that the beads were collected from a Umatilla grave in Umatilla, Oregon. 

A preponderance of evidence indicates that these beads are unassociated funerary objects taken from a Umatilla grave in Umatilla, Oregon and are culturally affiliated with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.  It is recommended that this string of beads be offered for return to the CTUIR. 

Repatriation Update
These beads were repatriated to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation on November 4, 2008.

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