Recovery Of Zuni War Gods

Effigies of Elder Zuñi War-god by Edward S. Curtis, Source: Library of Congress

IRS | Other Case Examples That Involve Indian Rights, Lands or Resources, or Tribal Authority

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Indian Resources Section worked with the Interior Department’s Solicitor’s Office to help recover many Zuni war gods, or Ahayuda, from private art dealers (including the estate of Andy Warhol) and museums for repatriation to the Zuni Tribe. The New York Times described this recovery effort as a “rare story of American Indians getting back what was taken from them.” The war gods, carved by Zuni priests and left to deteriorate in the elements at secret shrine sites across the reservation, are believed to be living deities and guardians of the Tribe.

 

Updated May 14, 2015