source: Waddington's, via theglobeandmail.com
Lot 22 - 'Northern Plains Indian Child's Tunic, early 19th century fringed and with beaded collar, showing signs of central bullet trauma.'

Amid Furor, Auction House Stops Sale of Bloody Native Child's Tunic

Vincent Schilling
5/7/14

When the Toronto-based Waddington’s auction house held a pre-show viewing of items to be sold during its auction of the late William Jamieson’s collection, a blood-stained "Northern Plains Indian Child's Tunic," complete with a bullet hole, was among the items. An outpouring of anger ensued, and Waddington’s soon pulled the item from the listing.

Responding to the outcry, Waddington’s President Duncan McLean told the Globe and Mail, “We don’t want to upset anybody, so are withdrawing the item and returning it to the consignor.”

Though Waddington’s responded by removing the item to be auctioned, several more native artifacts were auctioned from April 29th to May 1st, including a Pair of Lakota moccasins said to have been owned by Sitting Bull, which sold for $9,000, a Sioux Saddle blanket and pouch, which sold for $3,120, an Iroquois False Face Society Mask, which sold for $2,640, and more.

The child’s tunic was of interest to Jamieson because the garment had a bullet hole in the center of the chest and visible blood stains. Jamieson was known in the rare-item collectors world as the "Master of the Macabre" -- a label backed up by his collection of items on auction at Waddington’s. In addition to the Native artifacts, other items listed at Waddington’s included an electric chair, a bone model of a guillotine, a medieval wrought-iron ‘Shame’ mask and more.

The items on sale at Waddington’s also caused an outcry from First Nations communities in Canada. In particular, the Haudenosaunee Council forbids the sale or exhibition of medicine masks.

Hayden King, a member of Beausoleil First Nation who teaches history and native politics at Ryerson University, told the Globe and Mail,  “I’m generally of the belief that they should be returned. Some government agencies and museums agree, but the market includes many players who do not.”

“It all reflects this apparently endemic belief that native people are extinct, so we can do whatever we want with their stuff,” said King.

Sean Quinn, Waddington’s decorative arts specialist who appraised the tunic to be worth $2,000 to $3,000 told the Globe and Mail, “It was very, very difficult for me to catalogue [the tunic], because of its relation to a terrible period of history, the death of any child is horrific.”

When Jamieson died in 2011, his fiancée Jessica Phillips took to selling his collection, which also included authentic shrunken heads and necklaces made of human teeth. Though she says she agrees the tunic is a piece of history, it is up to the executors to decide where it ends up.

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Comments

Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
Only a sadistic person would wish to display & collect evidence of a child's murder. Some folks have no heart in collecting things of a murder. Makes you wonder about what kind of people wish to collect such things relating to murder. Especially when it is evidence of a child's murder.

hesutu's picture
hesutu
Submitted by hesutu on
Words can not begin to express the rage, horror and nausea this story has brought.

Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Nothing has changed. They profited from stealing our lands. They profited from cheating us out of necessities when we were corralled on reservations. They profited from moving us from place to place as natural resources were found on lands they thought were useless. They profited from killing us off whether by bullets, disease or hunger. Ever single treaty we've ever signed was written by them for their own profit. Why wouldn't they profit from a piece of bloody clothing worn by a murdered Native child in his last minutes on earth? Why is the fact that these things are objectionable not evident to them? What would they say if you tried to auction off clothing worn by Jewish children129 before they entered the showers at Auschwitz? Would would they say if you tried to auction the bullet riddled clothing of elementary school kids who died at Sandy Hook? It all boils down to "entitlement" and profit.

rockymissouri's picture
rockymissouri
Submitted by rockymissouri on
If I owned it ... It would be returned to the tribe... What a heavy sadness and horror.

Eric Large
Eric Large
Submitted by Eric Large on
The tunic should be returned to the family and tribe from which it was stolen.

Dezery Sleeper
Dezery Sleeper
Submitted by Dezery Sleeper on
I called the auction house and mentioned NAGPRA ... lets see how this goes haha!

Pediowoman's picture
Pediowoman
Submitted by Pediowoman on
For sale, a blood stained Yarmulka, this authentic historical item was found in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Any collector would be proud to own this one of a kind reminder of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people. Also offered for sale are paintings, sculptures, jewelry, gold crowned human teeth and other rare items from the holocaust. Be the first to get your bid in! If something like this ever happened, the entire nation would be outraged and the collection would be repatriated to the Jewish community no hesitation no questions and heads would roll. Yet the Indians ask for respect and repatriation and the same nation jeers at them for being sore losers and whiners. Go figure.

Pediowoman's picture
Pediowoman
Submitted by Pediowoman on
Sorry Michael, I posted my comment before I read yours.......You are as always, right on!

indianmedicine's picture
indianmedicine
Submitted by indianmedicine on
The selling of the "Tunic" is obviously in "Poor Taste", and is Justly called on. ................................................................................................................. The fact that it exists, and happened in "history", is a must to be told to Future People and Generations, else "History Repeats its self out of ignorance by those caught up in it............................................................................... ......................................................................................................................... What Greater Good could the "Tunic" do after the fact, but Expose The Fact - as it has greater impact in The Story of this Nation, its Peoples-and accurate Telling of History and how we got to where we are..................................... ..........................................................................................................................
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