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Native American headdress donated to Intertribal Center

January 1, 2011

A Native American headdress, estimated to be more than 100 years old, was donated to Central Wyoming College’s collection by a neighbor of Alice and Fred Nicol.

Bernie and Sue Bernard of Placitus, N.M., who own a home near the Nicols’ cabin at Turpin Meadow, donated the bonnet to CWC. It will be housed along with the Stewart Collection of Native American artifacts in the CWC Intertribal Education and Community Center. The center has a museum room with a temperature and moisture-controlled environment.

Fred Nicol, a former CWC Foundation board member, said Bernard acquired the bonnet from his father, who obtained it while working for the Civilian Conservation Corps in the early 1930s in Idaho.

Archaeologist Jim Stewart, who teaches for CWC, said the bonnet appears to be of Sioux style. The method of attaching the eagle feathers to the bonnet, he said, is indicative of a turn-of-the-century style. “The preservation has been extraordinary,” said Stewart when Nicol delivered the bonnet to CWC.

Students of CWC’s Western American Studies program will attempt to trace the origin of the bonnet through census and other government documents.

Sergio Maldonado, CWC’s Native American services coordinator, conducted a cedaring ceremony to welcome the donation to the Intertribal Center.