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Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana

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Owl Headdress, an Assiniboine wounded while an Army scout in 1870 finally received funeral honors, more than 90 years after he died. The Aug. 4 service, complete with a 21-gun salute, was the result of efforts by his great-grandson, Sheldon Headdress. 'It just seemed to me that because he served in the military and was wounded, he deserved a proper military burial. My family really wanted to see that happen.'' Owl Headdress, born near Wolf Point in 1842, was partially blinded by cannon fire while serving at Fort Buford, near Williston, N.D., but refused military benefits after his discharge. He died of natural causes in 1908 and was buried in a simple grave with only a small, wooden marker. 'The War Department's reply was, in all this legal jargon, that because he was an Indian and so on, he was entitled to nothing,'' his great-grandson said. Sheldon Headdress found his great-grandfather's discharge papers about 10 years ago, hidden inside a picture frame in his father's house. His next goal is to persuade curators at Fort Buford to remove a gravestone suggesting his great-grandfather was beaten to death there in 1870. 'Well, we know that's not true because he was writing letters to the War Department as late as 1900.''

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