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Someone recently donated an old vest to Goodwill, and while that could happen everyday, this one was unusual.

 By old, we mean a century old. It's a beaded Native American vest that's so valuable, Goodwill couldn't bear to sell it.

Instead, the non-profit decided to make its own donation. Now, curators from the Burke Museum are analyzing the vest.

It's an exquisitely detailed piece from the early 1900s. Everything from the color of the beads to the geometric designs to the velvet lining is a clue pointing to the vest's history.

"Whoever gave it to Goodwill probably knew more about it. They probably knew their grandfather got it while on a train ride through Glacier. That's the kind of information we'd love to have," said Robin Wright, Curator of Native American Art.

The vest was inside a trunk, donated to Goodwill in 2006. Someone recognized its value, and instead of going up for sale, the vest went into storage.

Katherine Boury of Goodwill explained, "We have to make the decision, what's the best use of the donation. In this case because it's of cultural significance, it seems it would be best to be accessible to everyone."

Assessors pinpointed it as Native American work from the northern plains.


"There's been some discussion with various experts about which particular tribe and we're not able to say precisely which tribe it might be," said Wright.

It might have been regalia for a pow wow, but at some point, it seems it was sold to a tourist.

Written on the lining - a price tag of $18 - for a vest that probably took several months to make. There is no price on the vest now, and while there are still questions about where it came from, there's no question where it's going.

The museum will keep the vest in its collection for the public to see and treasure.

Do you think you have an artifact in your home? Take up to three objects to the annual Artifact ID Day at the Burke on Feb. 9. (SOURCE)

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Responses to "Century-old Native American artifact dropped off at Goodwill"

  1. Probably never even asked a North American Indian whre the vest came from .....LOL, probaly a table of white guys with absolutely no clue as to who made it ...And, I doubt very much that it was "sold to a tourist "

  2. I sure hope it going back to the tribe instead of staying in a museum.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.
  4. Anonymous says:

    Holy cow , good save YOU ...the worker made a couple dollars an hour & probably took the bus . Hey NDN , come out to Pennsylvania n take back some land before the Chesapeake is dead ,,, sugar pushers there raize land don't give much back to mother earth ( my visit to the state line anyway)

  5. Anonymous says:

    cant believe people are to stupid to ask native who may have made the vest ,the color of the beads are a clue plus the design's .know there are those that has more knowledge than those that has knowledge ..the wachitcu ''knows every thing ....so they think. graywolf'' cherokee''

  6. Seems like it would be easier and smarter to consult with many tribal leaders from different tribes to find out where and when this was made. It was probably sold so that the person could buy a little bit of food for their family. How sad that this honorable item is not being returned to the rightful peoples it represents.

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