Pretty Eagle, a great war chief of the Crow Tribe whose life spanned the end of the buffalo days and the beginnings of reservation life, was flown home on the wings of man to rest among his people.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City released the remains and those of 61 other Crow tribal members after a seven-year effort involving the chief's great-great-grandson Hugh White Clay."It's a great day, not only for me, but for my boy and for the whole tribe," White Clay said Tuesday at the Billings airport.
A drum group and Pretty Eagle's relatives were at the airport to see White Clay return with a brightly colored blanket covering the box that contained the remains of one of the tribe's last great war chiefs.
Pretty Eagle, who lived from 1846-1903, was a member of the Piegan Clan and Fox warrior society and had many war deeds against tribal enemies.
His body and the bodies of other tribal members were removed from burial sites along the banks of the Bighorn River in the early 1900s and sold to museums, according to Crow cultural director John Pretty On Top.
Pretty On Top recovered two sets of remains last year from another New York museum.
The other remains returned from New York on Tuesday will be buried in the Crow Cemetery later this week, Pretty On Top said.
Friday, Pretty Eagle's remains will be taken to his fasting site eight miles above Fort Smith.