GREAT FALLS — The History Museum in Great Falls gets donations of all kinds frequently. One of their latest donations had significant importance and they were able to get the items back to the rightful owners, the Blackfeet Nation.
Tribal elders came to the museum on Wednesday morning to pick up the items, including a holy feather game, pronghorn horn, a bundle, an eagle wing, and a skunk teepee hanging for the museum. It was about doing the right thing and returning the items to where they belong.
"We recognize the importance of them going home with the Blackfeet nation. So we didn't put them into our collection. Instead, we reached out to the tribe to facilitate repatriation and get them back home," said Kristi Scott, museum director.
For the tribe, it is a significant event to have the items returned to their land.
Tribal historic preservation officer John Murray says they depend on items like this for survival.
"This is our way of life. We've been here. This is our land,” Murray said. “I feel great about these items coming back to our people and our land. I have hopes for our survival and that's how we are going to survive into the future. And this is going to help us."
In addition, it's also helpful to raise cultural awareness and pride, something elders and officials are seeing more of in the Blackfeet Nation.
"We've definitely seen a resurgence of cultural identity, and within that resurgence we're starting to witness a lot of pride,” said Pat Armstrong, Tribal Business Council member.
“The cultural identity is positive in the sense of bringing back our ways of life. The repatriation of bundles such as the Holy Feather Game Bundle is like a lifeline of our people."
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