12. What Dakota artifacts are in the Society’s collections?

Tue, 2012-05-08 14:50 -- admin
12. What Dakota artifacts are in the Society’s collections?

MNHS cares for about 1000 artifacts related to the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota,including ceremonial objects, arts and crafts, clothing and tools. All of these artifacts are listed and most can be viewed online at collections.mnhs.org/sevencouncilfires.  Photos related to the Dakota can be searched and viewed at www.mnhs.org/collections. Manuscripts related to Dakota family history can be found at www.mnhs.org/genealogy/dakotafamily/resources. Primary and secondary resources related to the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 can be found at libguides.mnhs.org/war1862.
Within the MNHS collections, there are 65 Dakota items that are eligible for repatriation under a federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). NAGPRA requires museums that have received federal funds to return certain categories of objects (sacred objects, unassociated funerary objects, and objects of cultural patrimony) to native tribes or bands. The items, which include peace pipes and funerary clothing, must be returned if claimed by an eligible tribe or band. Because these objects are eligible for repatriation and because they are often culturally sensitive, we do not display photographs of them or use them in exhibits.
MNHS also has in its collection a noose reportedly used to execute a man named Chaska, one of 38 Dakota men hanged in Mankato after the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. In a donation letter addressed to MNHS on July 29, 1869, Captain J.K. Arnold states that he stole the noose and hid it so that it wouldn’t be sent to Washington, D.C., with the other nooses used in the hangings. Dakota people have advised MNHS staff, during our conversations about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 exhibit, that the noose is an item of great concern. MNHS wants to be sensitive to those concerns by not displaying the noose, or photographs of it, at this time.