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English museum to return headdress to Alberta’s Siksika First Nation

SIKSIKA, Alta. — An English museum is returning a ceremonial headdress to the First Nation in Alberta that it came from.

The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, England is to return the Buffalo Woman’s headdress to representatives of the Siksika Blackfoot First Nation in a ceremony at the museum Wednesday.

The museum received the headdress in 1920 from Edgar Dewdney, a former governor of the Northwest Territories from which Alberta and Saskatchewan were carved.

It’s not clear how Dewdney acquired the headdress, which is crafted with buffalo horns, bird feathers, porcupine quills and adorned with red cloth and brass bells.

Research suggests the headdress is a sacred ceremonial item, once traditionally worn by a member of the Blackfoot Holy Buffalo Woman Society.

The museum has returned First Nations material before, including the 2022 repatriation of clothing and regalia once owned by Crowfoot, an important Blackfoot chief.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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