Yakama museum curator sentenced for artifact thefts

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YAKIMA, Wash. -- A former Yakama Indian museum curator was given a nine-month sentence and her daughter a six-month prison term for stealing beaded bags and other artifacts from the museum.

At the Thursday federal court sentencing in Yakima, the 58-year-old woman, Marilyn Skahan-Malatare, and her 30-year-old daughter, Colette Julia Malatare, also were ordered to pay about $1,200 in restitution.

They were indicted in January and accused of embezzling and stealing artifacts worth $160,000. In a plea bargain in March they each pleaded guilty to one count of theft and embezzlement.

All of about 70 items known to have been taken have been recovered from the curator's home and pawn shops. Most had been donated by 1920s movie actor Nipo Strongheart, an adopted member of the Yakama Nation.

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