Natural History museum returning Sitting Bull items to family

Washington, D.C. (AP) 9-07

Mementoes of Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull are being returned to his descendants, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History announced Monday.

The return of the lock of hair and leggings belonging to Sitting Bull was requested by Ernie LaPointe, great-grandson of the Hunkpapa Lakota chief who became famous for defeating Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer at the battle of Little Bighorn.

Sitting Bull was killed while being arrested by tribal police in 1890 and the lock of hair and leggings were obtained by an Army doctor, who later donated them to the museum.

“It has been an honor to meet the descendants of Sitting Bull, and to work together toward the return of these important items to the family,” Bill Billeck, director of the National Museum of Natural History’s Repatriation Office, said in a statement.

The Sioux and the United States negotiated a treaty in 1868 in present-day Wyoming that called for the Black Hills to be set aside for the Sioux. Custer and his forces were killed at Little Big Horn in 1876 after the federal government allowed gold miners to move into the Black Hills.

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