Willamette Meteorite Agreement main content.

Willamette Meteorite Agreement

Part of Hall of the Universe.

The American Museum of Natural History and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon Sign Historic Agreement Maintaining Willamette Meteorite at Museum, Recognizing the Tribe's Spiritual Relationship to the Meteorite

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Willamette Meteorite 2

New York, New York - June 22, 2000 -- The American Museum of Natural History and the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon today signed a historic agreement that ensures access to the Willamette Meteorite, a world famous scientific specimen at the Museum, by the Grand Ronde for religious, historical, and cultural purposes while maintaining its continued presence at the Museum for scientific and educational purposes. The agreement recognizes the Museum's tradition of displaying and studying the Meteorite for almost a century, while also enabling the Grand Ronde to re-establish its relationship with the Meteorite with an annual ceremonial visit to the Meteorite.

The agreement reflects mutual recognition of and respect for the traditions of both the Tribe and the Museum. As part of the agreement, the Tribe agrees to drop its claim for repatriation of the Willamette Meteorite and not to contest the Museum's ownership of it. However, the agreement also stipulates the Meteorite would be conveyed to the Tribe if the Museum failed to publicly display it, except for temporary periods for preservation, safety, construction and reasons beyond the reasonable control of the Museum. Also in keeping with the agreement, the Museum will place a description of the Meteorite's significance to the Clackamas in the Hall of the Universe, alongside a description of the Meteorite's scientific importance.

Officiating at the announcement and signing ceremony, which took place in the Museum's Rose Center for Earth and Space and beside the 15 1/2-ton Willamette Meteorite, were Ellen V. Futter, president of the American Museum of Natural History, and Kathryn Harrison, chair of the Grand Ronde Tribal Council.

"I can't begin to tell you how much this means to us," said Kathryn Harrison, Grand Ronde Tribal Council chair. "Since the termination of our tribe by the federal government in 1954, we have worked hard to gather our people together to share our unique and important past. This agreement goes even further because it looks towards our future. I consider it one of the outstanding milestones we've reached for our tribal members."

Meteroite Signing
Museum president Ellen Futter and Grand Ronde Tribal Council chair Kathryn Harrison

"It is an honor to sign this historic agreement with the Confederated Tri