A Blackfoot headdress, made with Golden Eagle feathers and believed to be over a century old, was discovered in an Okotoks thrift shop.

In a recent social media post, Alberta Fish and Wildlife said they received a tip from a member of the public in June that the headdress that was up for auction, and appeared to be genuine.

Acting in accordance with the Wildlife Act, which prohibits the sale of Golden Eagle parts, Officer Philip Marasco took possession of the headdress in order to confirm its authenticity and return it to its rightful owner.

The headdress was accompanied by a placard that said it used to be owned by a man who was an administrator of a residential school North of Red Deer in the early 1900's.

Officer Marasco says the store was very cooperative with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, and after several referrals, they were able to confirm the headdress as genuine.

"We were put in touch with Kent Ayoungman from the Blackfoot Confederation who deals with re-appropriation items and has some experience with ceremonial items, and he confirmed that, yes, it was in fact a Blackfoot headdress, so we were able to facilitate the return of that item to them."

He says calls such as this are common, but finding an item such as this is definitely not.

"There are lots of things that come up like headdresses or fans or bustles or drums that have eagle parts or bird parts. Lots of time these turn out to be production feathers or turkey feathers, which are fine, but to actually have a bona fide headdress made of Golden Eagle feathers show up like this was pretty surprising."

From here, the headdress is set to be restored and put back into circulation.


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