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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Addendum to the Repatriation Office Report Assessment of Objects Requested for Repatriation by the Pueblo de Cochiti in the Collections of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Region: Southwest
Associated Cultures: Pueblo de Cochiti


Documentation of three objects potentially affiliated with the Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico, was initiated in response to an official request from Robert B. Pecos, Governor of the Pueblo de Cochiti, and Lieutenant Governor Dwight A. Mody for the identification and return of Kachina (ka'tsina) Society masks that the Pueblo de Cochiti identified as sacred objects. Examination of the relevant museum records indicated that the NMNH housed a Deer Dance Mask and a Mask of the Rainmakers from Cochiti Pueblo, and a Guardian Mask from an unspecified pueblo Indian community on the Rio Grande River. Each of these objects was collected by Father NoŽl Dumarest sometime between 1894 and 1898.

The original report found that two of these objects, the deer Dance Mask and Mask of the Rainmakers, were found to be culturally affiliated with the Pueblo de Cochiti and were repatriated to the Pueblo de Cochiti on October 18, 2012.

However, the original report found that the cultural affiliation of the cultural object identified as a Guardian Mask could not be determined by a preponderance of evidence because the specific pueblo of origin where the object was collected was not provided by the original collector. Furthermore, the pueblos of Cochiti, San Felipe, and Santo Domingo each employed this type of mask during kachina ceremonies.

In order to determine the cultural affiliation of the Guardian Mask, the Repatriation Office consulted with governmental and religious representatives of San Felipe Pueblo and Santo Domingo Pueblo. As a result of these discussions, it was determined that the kachina object was not culturally affiliated to these communities. In turn, the evidence documented in consultations and official correspondence with the pueblos of San Felipe and Santo Domingo supported the finding that the Guardian Mask was culturally affiliated with the Pueblo De Cochiti. Therefore, it is recommended that this object in one catalog number be made available for repatriation to the Pueblo de Cochiti.

Repatriation Update
The Guardian Mask was repatriated to the Pueblo de Cochiti on May 30, 2013.

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