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Sacred items returned to tribe after 102 years

The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa went to New York last week to reclaim several sacred items that had been taken from the tribe 102 years ago.

Phyllis Boshey, an elder and former tribal council member, said the three birch bark rolls and six other items had been held prisoner by the American Museum of Natural History. "These objects are like spirits. They should not be locked up," she told The Minneapolis Star Tribune.

A group of tribal members held a ceremony in New York to receive the items and bring them back home. "It's like they were sleeping for a long time," Vernon Adams, a spiritual adviser, said, the paper reported. "The ceremony was to wake them up and let them know they're going home."

The birch bark rolls and other items are sacred to the Ojibwe Midewiwin medicine society. The bark rolls contain inscriptions that can only be interpreted by certain members the society and are not to be shown publicly. The museum said the rolls were never put on display.

Get the Story:
Band of Ojibwe brings its 'prisoners' home (The Minneapolis Star Tribune 12/11)

Relevant Links:
Bois Forte Reservation -
American Museum of Natural History -