Yurok Tribe welcomes repatriation of hundreds of sacred items
The Yurok Tribe of California traveled to Washington, D.C., to reclaim hundreds of sacred items from the National Museum of the American Indian.

The tribe repatriated 217 items, including necklaces, headdresses, arrows, hides and other regalia. The items had been sold to the museum in the 1920s.

"These are our prayer items. They are not only symbols, but their spirit stays with them. They are alive. Bringing them home is like bringing home prisoners of war," Chairman Thomas O'Rourke told The San Francisco Chronicle.

Some of the artifacts are hundreds of years old but others may be much older. The collection includes rare items such as woodpecker scalps, condor feathers and white deer skin.

"Our responsibilities are to preserve our culture, our language and our religious beliefs not only for us, but for our children and their children," Javier Kinney, a tribal member, told the paper. "This signifies a new day for the Yurok. We're not a people of the past that are only in history books."

Get the Story:
Yurok Indians exult at return of sacred cache (The San Francisco Chronicle 8/13)