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Repatriation Office - Department of Anthropology
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Detail of Plateau Bag (NMNH catalog no. E204234)

Executive Summary

Zuni Repatriation

Region: Southwest
Associated Cultures: Pueblo, Zuni

The NMNH repatriated two Ahayu:da (twin gods or war gods) to the Zuni of western New Mexico in 1987. The Zuni initiated discussions with the NMNH in 1978 regarding the return of religious objects in its collections. After extensive negotiations, the NMNH agreed to repatriate the war gods because they had been taken from their shrines improperly, and because they are communally owned by the Zuni people and no one could have conveyed title to the Smithsonian Institution. For more information about this repatriation, see "The Return of the Ayhu:da : Lessons for Repatriation from Zuni Pueblo and the Smithsonian Institution," by William L. Merrill, Edmund J. Ladd and T.J. Ferguson ( Current Anthropology 35:5:523-67, 1993).
Smithsonian Institute - National Mueseum of Natural History