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Old 12-06-2007, 10:02 AM   #1
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Smithsonian returns Sitting Bull artifacts to family

Associated Press - Mementos of Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull dating from 1890 were returned to his family yesterday at a ceremony in a quiet corner of the Smithsonian"s National Museum of Natural History.

"I appreciate from my heart what the Smithsonian has done," said Ernie LaPointe, Sitting Bull"s great-grandson.

"My great-grandfather stood for the freedom of the land, he stood for his people, and he was murdered for this," Mr. LaPointe said. "He stood his ground until the end."

Mr. LaPointe said he will hold a ceremony at his home in Lead, S.D., on Dec. 15 with a medicine man to help determine what should be done with the artifacts.

"These are not mine," he said. "They belong to my great-grandfather."

A leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux, Sitting Bull became famous as the leader who defeated Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876.

Sitting Bull was killed while being arrested by tribal police in 1890. A lock of hair and leggings were obtained, without permission, by an Army doctor, who later donated them to the museum.

Bill Billeck, director of the repatriation office at the museum, said officials didn"t discover the circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the materials until 1999.

The museum then began seeking descendants of the chief and finally located Mr. LaPointe and his three sisters as the closest relatives. Mr. LaPointe said his sisters chose him to be family spokesman.

The museum"s acting director, Paul Risser, said the Smithsonian "takes seriously the objects we have, and even more seriously the ownership of the objects."
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Old 12-06-2007, 02:32 PM   #2
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That's friggin awesome! Congrats to Mr. Lapointe and his sisters!
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