Siksika Nation searching for culturally significant artifacts to return home
CALGARY -- The Siksika Nation Chief and Council have been working to return sacred and culturally significant items back to the Blackfoot community.
With the help of Frank Hall, President of Hall’s Appraisals Ltd., the team has managed to repatriate a small collection of historic items from an estate recently acquired by Hall.
Chief Ouray Crowfoot said he first heard about a Duck Chief teepee and worked with Hall to bring it back to the Siksika Nation, “Once we retrieved that teepee back, Frank contacted me and said he had some more items we could look at.”
These pieces included beaded moccasins, weasel tail shirts, pipe bags, and calf robes among others.
“You can’t put a value on it,” said Crowfoot, “A lot of these things left the reserve 40 or 50 years ago and one of our efforts is repatriation.”
The Siksika Nation Chief and Council is now reaching out to museums, galleries, and private collectors around the world.
“My great, great, great grandfather was Chief Crowfoot, one of the (chiefs that signed) Treaty 7, and we’re getting his outfit back,” said Crowfoot, “It’s coming back from Exeter, England but because of COVID-19, we can’t go over there.”
Hall believes there’s growing understanding among museums and collectors that such pieces should be repatriated.
“They hold significant value not in monetary value, but historical, religious, and ceremonial value,” he said, “So that’s probably where they should go back and be looked after forever with the tribes.”
Once returned to the Siksika Nation, some items will be reintroduced to ceremonial rituals while others will be preserved at the Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park.