Descendants seek return of Sicangu chief possessions
ROSEBUD - A gathering of the descendants of Chief George "Jake" Kills In Sight was held last Thursday evening at the Rosebud Sioux tribe's veterans affairs building as a follow-up to four other meetings held by the tiospaye.
The descendants of Chief Kills In Sight are seeking the return of approximately 35 costume and personal items which were held by the Buechel Memorial Museum for 17 years without the knowledge of the family until they discovered that they had been shipped by United Parcel Service in Aug. 2002 to Walter Flammond of Bradley, Ill.
Apparently Flammond claimed that he was the original "loaner" of the costume items on Sep. 3, 2002 and asked for their return.
The items included leggings, a pipe bag, breast plate, choker, shirt and many other items needed to complete the outfit and which certainly fall under the category of cultural items.
Chief Kills In Sight was born in 1897 in Lakota territory and died at the Rosebud hospital in 1975. His biography provided by the family is that of a highly respected Sicangu tribal leader who was a World War I military veteran, tribal councilman and RST treasurer.
He was also present when the Tribal Land Enterprises was formed and which he served as its administrator for 25 years.
Former RST council representative and descendant, Darrell Marcus facilitated the family meeting attended by 15 people, while Archie Little sang an honor song to Crazy Horse which he recalls having sung at the Crazy Horse monument in 1979. Terry Gray of Sinte Gleska University was also present and is acting as a liaison in the case.
He is trying to determine if it is a case where the cultural items can be repatriated by the tiospaye under the guidelines of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Marcus said he has enlisted the assistance of Sherry Hutt, program manager for the national NAGPRA program.
Lenora Quick Bear, Francis Whitebird, Pauline Cloudman, Archie Little and Edd Charging Elk are part of the family's effort to honor descendants of Sicangu warriors who were at the battle of the Little Big Horn next summer, both at the battlefield site and back in Rosebud during the third week in June.
Marcus said, "We will honor the ways of the old warriors who went into battle and also those who prayed for the warriors that did not return. They treated the wounded and provided healing support for the warriors."
Apparently the tiospaye requested the legal assistance of the Native American Rights Fund on Dec. 2, 2008 and were told on Dec. 26, 2008 that NARF did not have the resources. Administrator Clela A. Rorex wrote, "Apparently, this matter is Indian v. Indian and, even if it were not, NARF does not have the resources to get involved."
The family will be holding a follow-up meeting during the first week in Feb. and will seek the support of the RST tribal council through a resolution asking that the costume items returned. Marcus noted that Bureau of Indian Affairs superintendent, Cleve Her Many Horses will also be invited to the meeting.