PUBLISHED: 5:14 PM on Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Denver museum repatriates beaded tunic, raven headdress
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science has repatriated two important pieces of at.óow to the L?kaax.ádi of Haines.

The beaded tunic was made by Mary Klanott (K'agéch) for her husband James Klanott (Lunáat') and is made out of dark purple wool cloth and has intricate floral beadwork designs on it.

The Raven Headdress, repatriated to the L?kaax.ádi was also made by Mary Klanott. Woven out of spruce roots with "false embroidery" it is a fine example of Tlingit weaving skills.

This one replaces an older one that was sold, which was done in porcupine quillwork instead of spruce roots.

Called Yeil Shádaa (Raven Headdress) in Tlingit it is woven in the style known as "shaman's hat" and has a carved wooden raven head attached on top with fox fur trimming the top of the headdress.

Abalone is inlaid in the raven's eyes and an ermine pelt hangs from its mouth.

Courtesy photo
  A beaded tunic was made by Mary Klanott (K'agéch) was one of two pieces repatriated by The Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
In 2002 a group of Tlingit & Haida's visited this museum to view the collection. When this hat was brought out Nora Dauenhauer told its history and then sang the song that goes with the hat.

After this was done the drum was handed to the museum and they were asked to tell their history of the hat and "sing their song" for it. They could not. This provided "proof of possession", an important part of proving ownership to an item and often used in claims on "objects of cultural patrimony" which refers to clan owned items as opposed to personal items. Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska thanks the L?kaax.ádi for using our Repatriation program for initiating this claim and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for their efforts and work in getting these important ceremonial objects returned. They were used in a ceremony in Haines on Dec. 1, for the first time in more than 30 years and "breath" was put back into them to bring them back into ceremonial use.

To date, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has repatriated eight important at.óow back to the Tlingit.