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Sacred Meteorites Under Glass: Tribes and First Nations Fight for Spiritual Integrity

In the Native community, deep-space rocks are not just astronomical curiosities; they are sacred objects. The recent sale of a piece of the Willamette Meteorite, revered by the Grand Ronde tribes of Oregon, and the Cree struggle to retrieve a 330-pound meteorite that is house in an Alberta museum, are raising ire in Indian country on both sides of the 49th Parallel. When pieces of Turtle Islands most famous meteorite, the Willamette, came up for auction on October 14 in New York City, the news did not go over well in Indian country.
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In October 2007, a $1 million meteorite was offered for sale through Bonhams New York. This controversial item was a fragment of the Willamette meteorite, the largest found in the US and the ninth-largest in the world. Discovered in 1902, the Willamette was donated to the American Museum of Natural History. It weighed more than 16 tonnes, or did until a considerable chunk was removed in the 1990s and sold to a private collector in New York.
When put on the market in 2007, this off-cut was expected to fetch more than $US1 million before representatives of an American Indian tribe from Oregon claimed they were ''deeply saddened'' by the proposed sale of what they considered to be a sacred artefact. It didn't sell.

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Carrie Beale's family roots run deep in West Linn.
They travelled here via the Oregon Trail from North Dakota. Beale's great-great-grandfather settled on land he bought around 1893 from the Moore family, descendents of West Linn's founder, Robert Moore.
Her great uncles witnessed the spectacle of the 15-ton Willamette Meteorite, the biggest meteorite ever found in the United States, which was unearthed in West Linn in 1902 and put on display in a resident's yard.

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 A piece of meteorite from the famous 15 ton Willamette Meteorite at the American Museum of Natural History in New York will soon be auctioned.
Interested?
A museum curator controversial decision to auction to the public pieces weighing 15 kg from the historic meteorite was made a decade ago.
The minimum price the 'missing' Willamette Meteorite is priced U.S. $ 750,000 (Rp6, 4 billion).

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Piece of historic meteorite up for auction

A piece cut from the famous 15-ton Willamette Meteorite at New York's American Museum of Natural History will go to the highest bidder, an auction house says.
The nearly 30-pound crown section cut from the historic meteorite in a controversial decision by the museum's curator a decade ago will be offered in a public auction on Sunday in Dallas and online, a release by Heritage Auctions in Dallas said Thursday.

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New trail in West Linn shows off giant ice age boulders
Widespread support from researchers, public agencies and economic development advocates has bumped the proposed Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail to near the front of a long line of federal projects.

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A West Linn park, tucked along a bucolic stretch of the Tualatin River, is set to become home to an interpretive trail dedicated to both the prehistoric floods that scoured much of the Northwest and the world-famous meteorite they floated here on an iceberg.
A picnic Saturday at Fields Bridge Park kicks off the inaugural World Meteorite Day -- the country's first municipal commemoration of cataclysmic flooding so unimaginable that for decades no one but a single scientist believed it occurred.

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The grave of Bill Dale the West Linn man who co-discovered the United States largest meteorite in 1902 has been located in Baker City, but it wasnt easy to find him.
On Memorial Day this year, Dick Pugh of the Cascadia Meteorite Laboratory at Portland State University, came across a listing of everyone buried in a Baker City cemetery. Dale was one of those buried, but his gravesite has no headstone.

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Willamette Meteorite78

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A piece of one of the worlds most famous meteorites failed to sell at a New York auction on 28 October.
A 13.5 kilogram chunk of the Willamette meteorite (pictured right) was withdrawn after a top bid of $300,000 fell a long way short of the expected price of $1 million to $1.3 million.
The pockmarked slab of iron and nickel weighing roughly 14.5 tonnes from which it was hewn about 10 years ago resides at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

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