[Federal Register: October 1, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 190)]
[Notices]
[Page 52745]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01oc98-89]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

Notice of Intent to Repatriate Cultural Items in the Possession
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mesa, AZ

AGENCY: National Park Service

ACTION: Notice

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    Notice is hereby given under the Native American Graves Protection
and Repatriation Act, 43 CFR 10.10 (a)(3), of the intent to repatriate
cultural items in the possession of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Mesa, AZ which meet the definition of ``object of cultural patrimony''
under Section 2 of the Act.
    The cultural items are: 30 medicine bags, two fire starter kits,
two deer toe rattles, one constellation rattle, two prayer sticks, two
animal skin wraps, and two small wooden bows. Collectively, these items
are referred to as Na'at'oye' jish, or Shooting/Lightening Way
paraphernalia
    On July 19, 1996, an undercover Special Agent of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service purchased two prayer sticks, an animal skip wrap, and
two medicine bags from Neil Hicks, owner of Indian Territory, Tucson,
AZ. Mr. Hicks told the Agent at the time of purchase that all items
were ``Navajo Medicine items.'' Following the execution of a federal
search warrant in November 1996, Special Agents of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service recovered the Navajo medicine items listed above. On
June 25, 1998, Mr. Neil Hicks, DBA Indian Territory, pled guilty to
selling Native American cultural items obtained in violation of the
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (Title 18 USC,
Section 1173).
    These cultural items were purchased by Mr. Hicks from person(s)
unknown who obtained these items in voilation of the Act. Consultation
evidence presented by representatives of the Navajo Nation indicate
that the Lightning Way is one of twelve major chants still performed in
the Navajo Nation. Bundles for these Ways should only be in the
possession of a qualified Hataalii (chanter, singer, or medicine
person) capable of understanding the jish. In Navajo tradition, jish is
only cared for or possessed by a human being, it is not ``property''
capable of being ``owned'' in the Western meanings of the words.
    Officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have determined
that, pursuant to 43 CFR 10.2 (d)(4), these 41 cultural items have
ongoing historical, traditional, and cultural importance central to the
culture itself, and could not have been alienated, appropriated, or
conveyed by any individual. Officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service have also determined that, pursuant to 43 CFR 10.2 (e), there is
a relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced
between these items and the Navajo Nation.
    This notice has been sent to officials of the Navajo Nation.
Representatives of any other Indian tribe that believes itself to be
culturally affiliated with these objects should contact Kevin Ellis,
Special Agent, Office of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 26 N. MacDonald, Room 105, Mesa, AZ 85201; telephone: (602)
835-8289 before November 2, 1998. Repatriation of these objects to the
Navajo Nation may begin after that date if no additional claimants come
forward.

    Dated: September 28, 1998.
Francis P. McManamon,
Departmental Consulting Archeologist,
Manager, Archeology and Ethnography Program.
[FR Doc. 98-26334 Filed 9-30-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-70-F

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