The eagle feather headdress of the Plains Indians is an iconic symbol, often seen in blockbuster films, advertising, and mascots. In 2005, the US Fish and Wildlife Service confiscated an 1860s Cheyenne headdress. After accepting the headdress from the Service, a Cheyenne and Arapaho Chief’s council reached out to Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. In partnership with the tribes, Washita staff transferred the headdress to the NPS Western Archeological Conservation Center in Arizona for curation and stabilization. “This war bonnet features an upright crown and trailer decorated with 66 contour feathers, likely from a golden eagle. . . The head band strip of leather is decorated with glass beads . . . white, green, and red-orange in color. The crown is composed of a plain weave, brown cotton hat blank . . lined with semi-tanned skin. . . The trailer is made from a long strip of dark twill denim. The long sides are trimmed in an orange cloth, while the bottom edge is trimmed in a yellow-orange silk.”

The repairs and curation of the headdress are now complete. The park is in the process of transferring the headdress back to the tribes. Chief Ranger Kevin Mohr