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U.S. and 2 tribes battle over Geronimo’s headdress

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two American Indian tribes and the U.S. government have gone to court in a battle over an eagle-feather headdress that, according to folklore, was last worn by Apache leader Geronimo.

After a Georgia man tried to sell the headdress over the Internet a year ago, the FBI seized it on the grounds that trafficking in feathers of bald and golden eagles is illegal. Leighton Deming, who says Geronimo gave his grandfather the war bonnet after a historic 1907 powwow in Oklahoma, agreed to forfeit the artifact in exchange for probation.

The Mescalero Apache Tribe in southern New Mexico was first to file a claim. The tribe says Geronimo was the acclaimed "war chief of all Apache tribes" and the headdress would make a fine addition to their museum.

Two weeks later, the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma put in its bid. The Comanches argue that Apaches did not wear long-feather war bonnets, but their tribe did and made the one seized by the FBI.