Headdress of Native leader to return to Wyoming tribe

February 1, 2020 GMT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The headdress worn by a Native leader in Wyoming is returning to the tribe after he gave it to a non-Native dentist living in the state, tribal leaders said.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe has planned a ceremony Saturday to welcome the headdress of Chief Black Coal, who guided many to the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in the 19th century, Casper Star-Tribune reported Friday.

Coal gave his headdress to a dentist who would often travel to the reservation to provide dental care, officials said.

The great-grandson of that dentist contacted the tribe last year asking if the tribe wanted the headdress back, tribal leaders said.

The Tribal Historic Preservation office accepted the offer and descendants of Coal traveled to Massachusetts to retrieve the 140-year-old headdress, officials said.

Community members will have a chance to see the headdress during the ceremony at Great Plains Hall in Arapahoe, tribal leaders said.

The headdress was stored at the University of Wyoming to be disinfected and will return to the tribe after the ceremony for conservation work before potentially being put on display, leaders said.