Hsi-hsoka Tanno, a Vietnamese-American woman who was killed by an American airstrike during the Vietnam War, was not given her body back until her death in 1998.
Tannos body was taken to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in D.C. and, after a decade of preservation efforts, was sent to her sister, Sifu Aun.
But in 2002, after more than three decades of neglect and a lawsuit from Aun, the museum finally delivered her body to the family of her friend, Jodie LaSalle, who was also a victim of the American airstrike.
The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum and Library of American History has not returned her remains to the Tannocks family since they were sent to D.N.C., where they have languished in the National Archives for decades.
The National Museum has said it will return the remains to Aun’s family when they receive formal notification of the museum’s decision.
But LaSelle’s sister, Hsi Sato Aun Sr., has not been able to reach her sister since the museum sent her a letter in April 2016 that said the Smithsonian would send back her body and her son, Hsu-hsota Tannoe.
“They sent me an envelope with a receipt and a stamp, and they said, ‘You have until July 1 to give it back,'” she told National Geographic.
“I had no idea what to say.
It’s just not fair.”
Hsi Tannoes son, Jody LaSalee, is pictured here with his mother, Hsueh-hsi Tannoy, in a photo from the National Library of America.
She says she was shocked when she read the letter and that it did not take her long to understand what the Smithsonian had done.
But, in an interview with National Geographic, she said the museum had never given her any of her family’s belongings, including her passport and a necklace.
She also says the Smithsonian did not notify her of the lawsuit until after the museum released its report, which said the Tanners were victims of a “gross disregard” for their privacy.
“It’s really a slap in the face,” she said.
“And I think that’s why they didn’t care.
They never thought about their privacy, and so now it’s gone.
It has nothing to do with our case.”
Hsuesa Tannota died of a heart attack in 2006.
The U.S. government said the airstrike was a mistake and that the Tans were killed by mistake, and it said the death was “unprovoked.”
The National Library said the attack killed Jodia LaSalles body and left a hole in her heart that prevented her from getting adequate treatment.
The family’s lawyer, Daniel F. Tittman, said the case was never solved, and that no family members have received compensation.
“We never received a penny for Jodias life and death,” Tittmann told National Public Radio.
“There was never a bill for her burial.
There was never any compensation for her loss.
She’s still a widow today.”
The Smithsonian said it would pay Jodisa’s estate $10,000 for each of her three children, Hsieh Tannoys, J.D., and Tanyo, who are now living in Hawaii.
“A year after her death, a small memorial fund was established by her estate,” the Smithsonian said in a statement.
“This fund includes all of her personal belongings including her wallet, jewelry, clothing, jewelry-wearing, and personal items belonging to Jodiya’s children.
She was also awarded a full payment of $10.5 million to the families of the victims, for their medical expenses.”
But Tannoos lawsuit claims the Smithsonian never gave them any of their belongings.
“These items were taken away, and the Smithsonian has not paid any of the family members in full,” she told us in an email.
“The Smithsonian has failed to fulfill its legal obligation to return these objects to the grieving family.”
Hsu Sato Tannoke, Hsisa Tannyo, and Jodi LaSalla are pictured here at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.L. in 2015.
They say they have not received any of LaSailes belongings.
Hsuyas family members are not included in the Smithsonians settlement with the family, but they did agree to a partial payment of the legal fees that the Smithsonian’s lawsuit is seeking.
“As part of the settlement, we will make arrangements for a posthumous release of all of the artifacts, including the Tanyoes jewelry and the necklace,” the family said in an emailed statement.
The museum did not respond to requests for comment.
In addition to her son and the Tano family, LaSala is also seeking $6 million for lost wages