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Relics from investigated collection on display

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A central Indiana museum is displaying numerous Native American relics belonging to a man from whom the FBI seized many artifacts this spring.

The display at the Shelby County Historical Society's Grover Museum includes arrowheads, pottery and tools on loan from Don Miller. FBI agents searched Miller's rural home in neighboring Rush County for several days in April, with officials saying he improperly possessed some items among his collection of thousands of artifacts from around the world.

Grover Museum director Candy Miller told The Shelbyville News that she had been talking with Miller about the display before learning about the FBI investigation. She called the exhibit a "peek inside his collection."

"I was overwhelmed when I went to his house," she said. "It is an amazing, lifelong collection."

Visitors to Miller's collection have said it included items such as shrunken heads, Ming Dynasty jade and a 60-foot anaconda skin.

Authorities have not said which, if any, of the items might have been illegally obtained, and the rules regarding the removal or collection of cultural artifacts are complex, involving state, federal and international laws.

Miller, 91, wasn't arrested following the search. An FBI spokesman didn't immediately return a telephone message from The Associated Press on Thursday seeking an update on the investigation.

The exhibit at the Shelbyville museum focuses on Indiana-related Native American artifacts and continues until Sept. 20, WISH-TV reported.

"We're just really fortunate to have our friend, Don Miller, loan us these things after all he went through and to bring them to the museum so the public can get little better look," Candy Miller said.

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  • it is illegal to collect human remains
    He had Native American human remains, which need to be repatriated to their tribes for both legal and moral reasons, which he willingly volunteered to do. The reason the FBI and academics went through the collection, is to ID what needed to be repatriated, and to ID where they needed to go. He is fine, the rest of his collection is fine, show is over, folks. :)
  • Collecting is not a crime
    I still don't understand how the FBI had any right whatsoever to investigate this elderly collector. Before the Antiquities Act it was completely legal to buy, trade or collect Native American artifacts. I used to see arrow heads, axes, bowls, corn grinders at antique shops and flea markets for sale and I bought them myself. But that was in the late 60's and early 70's. And I now know that people used to steal items from sites and sell them. I understand that is illegal. But we used to find arrow heads and even a corn grinder in our back yard when I was a child. And I still have those items today in my small collection.

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