On December 4, 2013, Sotheby’s (NYC) plans to auction a Buffalo Robe that may have been taken from Cheyennes who were brutally murdered and had to flee without food or proper clothing in the middle of the winter. The Buffalo Robe, the Northern Cheyenne Cultural Commission and Northern Cheyenne Tribe asserts, is cultural patrimony, and the item should be taken off of auction. As Christie’s states in its description of the Buffalo Robe a few years ago, the Buffalo Robe was taken as “booty” during an 1876 campaign in the Powder River Basin in present-day Montana.

          Sadly, this concept of spoils of war is not new in the art world—that is, to sell the clothes and items off of men, women, and children brutally murdered. This practice, in fact, was tolerated until recently among auction houses and the private art market in the case of items stolen by German Nazis who forced Jewish families from their homes to flee for safety in other parts of the world or horrifically murdered them in gas chambers or otherwise in the 1930s and 1940s.

          The horror of these acts—in both the Northern Cheyenne experience and the Jewish experience—cannot be erased by time, as they are things that are felt on a daily basis among their communities, within their families, and by their peoples. While “time” will never erase such an act, the art world and Sotheby’s can act to remove such items from auction and assist Native communities with their return.

          So, Sotheby’s, what is it going to be?



  1. I suppose it would be a different story if someone went into one of their relatives homes , murdered them cold blooded, stole something and took it to a pawn shop or auction house…why that would be just unjust!!!..Guess it depends on who you are, or what color your skin is!….SHAMEFUL AND DISCUSTING..GIVE THE GARMENT BACK TO WHO IT BELONGS!


  2. Sotheby’s only goal is to make money…what more needs to be said? By this action, they are proving they are heartless, unfeeling and greedy and all about sensationalism…bad Karma to follow if they proceed with this auction. Shame on you, Sotheby’s…


  3. Ok you are blaming the auction house but truly it is the OWNER of the garment who should be chastised ! This garment should be returned to a museum for the Cheyenne people ! not to be sold for profit ! It is an artifact of the times and belongs back with it’s people !


  4. Try being moral and give the clothes to a museum or to the native people who’s ancestors owned them. Do something honorable. Please!!


  5. Linda Kennedy is correct. The auction houses should stop accepting these items but they do belong to the owner. He should be asked to return it to the Cheyenne. They would be so blessed to receive it. Blessings might actually come back to the owner. Hoping they all do the right thing.


  6. This isn’t right. The buffalo robe should be returned to The Northern Cheyenne. Why would you continue the victimization of a civilization & a tribe? Have you no conscience, no virtues, no compassion to do the right thing. What if someone stole your grandmothers bones then sold them @ auction to the highest bidder. This is what you’re doing to the people.


  7. It appears that the owner has no conscience, but it’s not too late for Sotheby’s to get one. Stop trafficking in Native cultural patrimony. Stop trafficking in the spoils of an unequal and undeclared war. My condolences to the Northern Cheyenne who, once again, must bear a painful burden of genocidal history.


  8. Truly heartbreaking, still after all these years “The People” are being violated! It maybe auctioned but the recipient will NEVER truly own it and they’ll NEVER be blessed for owning it and they might just find a dreadful curse until it’s returned to “The People” it belongs to


  9. the only hope is that the spirits will take too the so called owner and dance on their soals and then there grave for not returning these idems too the tribe


  10. It seems that this person has no type of conscience what so ever, Tis tis tas people have under gone a lot of persecution from the Government. This should be returned to the Cheyenne people and this person should if he has a conscience, not have this auction, or is it for the money your going to get Mr Whiteman?


  11. I thought I just read that clothing collected at the Nazi concentration camps wad showing up for sale and had been pulled off the Markey. This is no different.


  12. I guess only certain people from certain times in History are accorded Rights & items returned to them, their families, or their People? Or certain people have Money to facilitate a huge planetary hue & cry for what they feel is owning to them. And repatriation of materials, lost, stolen or whatever are summarily returned to them post haste!
    Now THIS article, really drives home the predjudices from the Past into the Present! It has NOT changed for “The People!”
    Part of me says that ‘it was the Times! The Era lived in…the Mind Set!’ The US in turmoil with self-inflicted War between families & brothers, over the SAME THING!
    Bottom Line is Money! Then and Now!!
    To me, Sotheby’s needs to end this Auction, now! It is MORALLY WRONG to do this! Return the looted items back to the Cheyenne!!
    The Mind Set has returned from the Past and festers and lingers….in the Present.
    Quote: “Only Good Injun, is a Dead Injun!”…
    Alive and well, at Sotheby’s Auction House….and to some filthy bastard who is paying out blood money, for murdered Humans….
    Want to know what Adolf Hitler and his cohorts excelled in, in school? History!! American History!! POW camps, slaves, righteous bullshit….and it still goes on.
    I am even willing to bet that that there are people in the USA that cannot BELIEVE their Commander-in-Chief is a black man!! Ohhh Myyyy!!
    Live Long and Prosper….The Fall of the Fourth Reich, approaches!! IMHO!!!


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