Pieces of stolen Marjorie Tallchief statue recovered, Tulsa Historical Society says | Crime News

After a statue depicting one of Oklahoma’s most famous Native American ballerinas was stolen last week, pieces of it have been recovered at a company that buys scrap metal.

Officials at the Tulsa Historical Society said one of the Five Moons statues — the one of Marjorie Tallchief — was likely removed Thursday from its plinth outside the Historical Society’s museum at 2445 S. Peoria Ave.

The theft was discovered Saturday morning, and a police report was filed. The story of the stolen statue was shared on the Tulsa Police Department’s social media and through news outlets.

On Monday, the Historical Society received a call from CMC Recycling in southwestern Rogers County to identify what was believed to be pieces of the bronze statue.

Michelle Place, director of the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, checked out the recovered pieces Monday morning to verify that they were parts of the statue.

“The Tulsa Police Department is working diligently to apprehend the thief,” the Historical Society said in a statement.

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Some pieces of the statue, including the head and part of the figure’s arm, are still missing. Place said the police have leads on who the thief might be.

“We’re hoping that additional information regarding missing pieces will be located so that we can then do our best to restore this Native American symbol through art,” Place said.

The original mold for the statue burned in a foundry fire, so the process of replicating the artists’ work will be much more complicated, she said.

“I am devastated by this,” she said.

The statues known as the Five Moons were created by two local artists, Monte England and Gary Henson. England worked on two of the pieces before his death in 2005, and Henson completed the project.

The other Five Moons statues depict renowned American Indian ballerinas Yvonne Chouteau, Rosella Hightower, Moscelyne Larkin and Maria Tallchief. All Oklahomans, they performed on international stages and stood as a symbol of Native American culture in dance.

Marjorie Tallchief, the last surviving of the five, died Nov. 30 at her home in Delray Beach, Florida. She was prima ballerina with New York’s Harkness Ballet from 1964 until 1966, when she retired from the stage.

She then taught at the Dallas Civic Ballet Academy and was a dance director for the Dallas Ballet. In 1980, she helped her sister found and taught at the Chicago City Ballet.

Larkin was a member of the Shawnee tribe and started the Tulsa Ballet Company. Chouteau started the Oklahoma City School of Ballet and the University of Oklahoma Ballet. Maria Tallchief, Marjorie’s sister, helped to found the New York City Ballet, where she was a principal dancer. Hightower danced with a professional company outside of Paris.

“Each of these five women were so extraordinary, so gifted and gave so much of themselves to the community,” Place said.

An online fundraiser to replace the Marjorie Tallchief statue has a goal of $35,000, according to the museum’s operations manager.

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