Museum Returns Historic Leather Shirt Of Native American Chief Hollow Horn Bear To Family

A historic leather shirt that belonged to Native American Brule Lakota leader Hollow Horn Bear has been returned to his family after it was kept in a German museum for over 100 years.

The Museum of World Cultures located in the city of Frankfurt in Germany returned a leather shirt that was owned by Native American Chief Daniel Hollow Horn Bear to his family in the US on 12th June.

Hollow Horn Bear was a Brule Lakota leader who fought in many battles of the Sioux Wars between the US and several Native American tribes and First Nations peoples in North America, including the Battle of Little Bighorn.

Chief Hollow Horn Bear’s shirt which was a part of the Weltkulturen Museum in the city of Frankfurt in Germany. (Wolfgang Gunzel/Newsflash)

The battle, which was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War, was fought between combined forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army and resulted in the defeat of US forces in June 1876.

After the wars, Hollow Horn Bear served as police chief of the Rosebud Indian Reservation and even featured on a 1922 US postage stamp.

The Museum of World Cultures acquired the famous shirt through an exchange with the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1908, and had kept it for 113 years.

Daniel Hollow Horn Bear wearing the shirt which was a part of the Weltkulturen Museum in the German city of Frankfurt. (John Alvin Anderson/Newsflash)

However, after Daniel Hollow Horn Bear’s great-grandson Duane visited the Museum of World Culture and saw the shirt in 2019, he made a repatriation request to the authorities and explained the religious significance of the shirt for his people.

The man also showed a picture by photographer John Alvin Anderson portraying Chief Daniel Hollow Horn Bear wearing the shirt.

The museum agreed and the shirt was given to Duane Hollow Horn Bear two years later in the Rosebud area located in the Indian Reservation in the US state of South Dakota.

Duane Hollow Horn Bear at a younger age next to his great-grandfather Daniel’s photo. (Weltkulturen Museum/Newsflash)

Friends of the Museum of World Culture helped the organisation finance the shirt’s transportation to the US.

Head of the Culture and Science Department of the city of Frankfurt, Dr Ina Hartwig, said: “Provenance research is one of the great challenges of museums in the 21st century. The museum scene of Frankfurt has been taking this challenge very seriously for years and is subjecting its collections to systematic revision.

“Even though it might be seen as a loss because the object was legally acquired by the Museum of World Culture, I see the return of the leather shirt to Chief Duane Hollow Horn Bear as an obligation that outweighs the formal legal situation.”

Duane Hollow Horn Bear with his wife Elsie at the Weltkulturen Museum on 6th June 2019. (Mona Suhrbier/Newsflash)

Duane Hollow Horn Bear’s daughter Michelle Traversie wrote on Facebook: “History has been made today. My dad finally was able to bring Chief Hollow Horn Bear’s shirt home. He’s wearing it in the photo before he was killed and it was taken. Proud moments today for our Aske Tiospaye.”

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