FR Doc E9-27235[Federal Register: November 13, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 218)]
[Notices]               
[Page 58649-58650]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr13no09-83]                         

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service
 
Notice of Intent to Repatriate a Cultural Item: The Oregon 
Historical Society, Portland, OR

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.
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    Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves 
Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent 
to repatriate a cultural item in the control of The Oregon Historical 
Society (Society), Portland, OR, that meets the definition of 
"unassociated funerary object" under 25 U.S.C. 3001.
    This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's 
administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003 (d)(3). 
The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the 
museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the cultural 
item. The National Park Service is not responsible for the 
determinations in this notice.
    The object is a Jefferson Peace Medal, dated 1801 (84-84) 
(the "Medal"). It is 5.5 cm in diameter and constructed of two pieces 
of silver fastened together with a collar. On the obverse is a likeness 
of President Thomas Jefferson with the legend, "Th. Jefferson 
President of the U.S. A.D. 1801". On the reverse are clasped hands, a 
crossed tomahawk and peace pipe, and the words "Peace and 
Friendship". The Medal has a hole and crack running vertically across 
the face, affecting both sides.
    The Medal was given by Major Edwin McNeill to Winslow B. Ayer. Ayer 
was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Society on December 31, 1898, 
and presented the Medal to the Society on June 17, 1899. The Society 
accepted the Medal and recorded the donation (Himes, circa 1910). The 
Society adopted an intact version of the verso design of the Jefferson 
Peace Medal series as the Society's corporate seal.
    The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon, 
has made a claim for the Medal under NAGPRA, stating their belief that 
the Medal is an unassociated funerary object from a grave located on an 
island in the Columbia River, at or near the mouth of the Walla Walla 
River. Available information concerning the original provenience of the 
Medal is limited and conflicting. One early account states that the 
Medal was found on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation (OHS Proceedings, 
1899). This account makes no reference to the specific location of the 
discovery beyond the Nez Perce Indian Reservation or the identity of 
the person who collected it. Another later, more detailed account 
indicates that the Medal was found on an island in the Columbia River 
near Wallula, WA. This account does not identify a specific island, and 
makes no mention of any graves in the area. Representatives of the 
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have stated that 
various documented accounts demonstrate that islands in the Columbia 
River were used for burials.
    Available information indicates that Meriwether Lewis and William 
Clark presented Jefferson Peace Medals to major and minor chiefs along 
their overland journey to the Pacific Coast. Lewis and Clark both 
mentioned in their journals that at least four medals of the same 
dimensions as the Society's Medal were given in friendship to the local 
tribes in the vicinity of present-day Wallula, WA, during their 
expedition between October 15 and October 20, 1805, and during the 
return voyage between April 27 and April 30, 1806. One such medal was 
presented to a Walla Walla chief named Yelleppit or Yelept on 
October 19, 1805, while Lewis

[[Page 58650]]

and Clark were at their camp at the mouth of the Walla Walla River, on 
the Columbia River. Since one account indicates that the Medal was 
found on an island in the Columbia River in the vicinity of present-day 
Wallula, WA, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian 
Reservation has stated that various islands in the Columbia River were 
used as burial sites by the Walla Walla, the Medal could have been 
interred with the body of Chief Yelept or another unnamed Chief 
of the Walla Walla Tribe. Therefore, the Medal may be an unassociated 
funerary object. No other tribal group in the region has expressed an 
interest in obtaining this Medal. The Society has determined that it 
would be appropriate to transfer possession of the Medal to the 
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
    Based on the recorded discovery site and consultation with 
representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian 
Reservation, officials of the Oregon Historical Society reasonably 
believe that the Medal is an unassociated funerary object, pursuant to 
25 U.S.C. 3001 (3)(B). Officials of the Oregon Historical Society also 
have determined that, pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001 (2), there is a 
relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced 
between the unassociated funerary object and the Confederated Tribes of 
the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon.
    Representatives of any Indian Tribe that believes that the Medal is 
a cultural item affiliated with that Tribe should contact Marsha 
Takayanagi Matthews, Director of Museum Collections, The Oregon 
Historical Society, 1200 S.W. Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205-2483, 
telephone (503) 306-5200, before December 14, 2009. Repatriation of the 
Medal to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, 
Oregon may proceed after that date if no additional claimants come 
forward.
    The Society is responsible for notifying the Confederated Tribes of 
the Colville Reservation, Washington; Confederated Tribes of the 
Umatilla Indian Reservation, Oregon; and the Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho 
that this notice has been published.

    Dated: October 22, 2009.
Sherry Hutt,
Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. E9-27235 Filed 11-12-09; 8:45 am]

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