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Government Custer Museum Director Pursue Settlement

KGVO State-Wide & Regional News
KGVO State-Wide & Regional News
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The government is entering settlement talks Monday with the director of a Custer-themed Montana museum, trying to resolve who owns American Indian artifacts seized in raids by federal agents.

The 22 Indian war bonnets, medicine bundles and other items were confiscated in 2005 and 2008 from the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen. The government spent years pursuing artifact fraud charges against museum director Christopher Kortlander, but dropped its investigation three years ago.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says most of the items have feathers from protected eagles and allege some were stolen from members of the Crow Tribe.

Kortlander has not been implicated in the thefts. And officials acknowledge one allegedly stolen war bonnet could have been misidentified.

The settlement talks are scheduled before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong.

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