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Scientists to decide bundle's fate

Jeff Morrow, Windspeaker Staff Writer, New York

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Jim Thunder won't be receiving a rousing reception at New York City's American Museum of Natural History March 21 when he arrives to claim Big Bear's sacred bundle, according to

Thunder's promotions manager, Museum officials have not agreed to co-operate.

The people of New York City are being made aware of Thunder's 4,400-km spiritual run to collect Th. Big Bear's sacred bundle, said Lewis Cardinal speaking from the American

Indian Community House in Manhattan. "But we're not making a great big event out of it. We don't want it to be a circus."

He said museum officials know why Thunder is coming but haven't formally pledged their co-operation.

When Thunder arrives at the museum around 12:30 p.m. He'll make a request to museum curators to have the bundle released. Cardinal said he still isn't sure if they are going to

accommodate Thunder or not. "They haven't said yes or no So far they've just said they're looking forward to meeting with Jim and his support staff....They're just willing to sit down

and talk about it.

Cardinal said he is trying to inform New Yorkers of the importance of Thunder's trek so they can be on hand to witness the historical event.

"We want people to know what the run is about and what our objectives are."

The museum's public affairs director said the sacred bundles will remain at the museum of department anthropologists say so.

"They'll determine if there's a rightful claim or not and make a decision....It may not be right away," Herb Kurz said.

He said the scientists are fully aware of the bundle's history but aren't committed to turning it over to Thunder. They (Thunder's staff) have simply made a request. We'll sit down and

talk it over, but there's no special significance on our part."

There has been controversy surrounding Thunder's run to retrieve the bundle since he began his journey from Edmonton Sept. 1, 1988. Cardinal said there are misconceptions

about Thunder's motives.

"He's not claiming it for himself. He's a messenger bringing a message to release the bundles to where it belongs."

Chiefs and elders from North Battleford, Saskatchewan, where Cardinal claims the bundle belongs, will be present at the ceremony. "Thunder's mission as a messenger is simply to

return it there," he said.

If the bundle is handed over chiefs and elders will decide then where the bundle will be kept.

It is prophesized a descendant of Cree Chief Big Bear would retrieve the sacred bundle for return to the Plains Cree.

When Thunder departed on his cross-Canada run, Calgary resident George Chatsis said he was the rightful heir to fulfill Big Bear's prophesy and Thunder has no claim.

Chatis said he was the legally adopted grandson of Big Bear and charged Thunder's ancestral claim as "phoney."

"People who support Thunder don't have a clue about Native culture."

He says the bundle is destined to be returned to Big Bear's rightful ancestors but not by Thunder. "He's reading too many books."

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