DENVER — A car stolen from Denver's Park Hill neighborhood that contained vintage suitcases full of traditional, handmade Osage regalia has been found in Aurora.
The Jacobs family said Friday afternoon that the vehicle had been rummaged through, but everything of importance was still in the car, largely untouched.
It's a happy ending for the family after their Honda CRV was taken late Monday night or early Tuesday morning from Jan Jacobs' driveway.
Jacobs had just made the long drive back from Oklahoma, where she had taken part in Osage Nation ceremonial dances.
The heirlooms have been passed down and worn by family members from three generations. They included finger-woven belts, men's suits, women's skirts, moccasins, feathers and more.
“The materials can be replaced…but the meanings…and some of the pieces we would have lost…forever," Jan Jacobs said Friday.
Joined by her son, they expressed thanks to everyone's support in help finding the items.
“As native people you…in many ways can blend in…like we all can in our broader community and wear whatever, but that is something that genuinely is an attachment - an image of self and identity that we must have in our lives.”
In a statement released Friday, the Jacobs family said:
All members of the family have spent the morning celebrating the return of their Osage family treasures. While the thought of the potential loss was unfathomable, their gratitude for the safe return of these heirlooms is immeasurable. They are currently awaiting the arrival of cedar from their homelands in Oklahoma so that they can smudge and cleanse this regalia and belongings.
“It just makes us feel so good to be able to put those clothes on and dance around the drum together as family and extended family and Osage family," Jacobs told 9NEWS' Noel Brennan on Tuesday.
“They’re not just clothes," Ben Jacobs said. "They're like our lifeblood. They’re what connect us to who we are and our identity.”
Ben Jacobs co-owns Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery. He and his family offered $5,000 for the safe return of their heirlooms.
“Besides being beautiful, they have that special meaning because someone thought enough of me to give me something that was dear to them," Jacobs said.
The family said their story was shared thousands of times by people from all across the US.
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