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Detail of Ho Chunk Bag (NMNH catalog no. E357877b)
Projects & Initiatives

Our Projects and Initiatives section highlights recent and past work in the National Museum of Natural History Repatriation Office of interest to the general public. Over the years, we’ve undertaken a number of collaborative endeavors with native groups, and facilitated numerous repatriations and traditional care alternatives to repatriations.

Photo of Ishi bulletThe Repatriation of Ishi, the last Yahi Indian
The NMNH committed in March of 1999 to return the brain of Ishi to his descendants at the Redding Rancheria and Pit River Indian Tribe of California, and held it until they could recover cremated remains from the cemetery in Colma, California, where they were held by a private mortuary.
Poison Tag bulletPesticides Detection Initiative
The Repatriation Office of the National Museum of Natural History has initiated efforts to detect pesticides and other contaminant substances that may be hazardous to people handling National Museum of Natural History collections.
Box for Cheyenne Buffalo Skull bulletCreating a Box for a Cheyenne Buffalo Skull
In 1903, James Mooney, an anthropologist working for the Smithsonian, collected a buffalo skull from the altar of the Cheyenne Sun Dance held that July near Cantonment, Oklahoma. The buffalo skull was eventually incorporated into an exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History on the importance of the buffalo to the Plains tribes.

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