Harvard Returns Standing Bear’s Tomahawk To Nebraska Tribe


BOSTON (AP) — A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, has been returned to his tribe immediately after being housed for decades in a museum at Harvard University.

Members of the Ponca tribes in Nebraska and Oklahoma frequented the Massachusetts university on June 3 for the ceremonial return of the artifact, the tribes said in a new announcement.

Standing Bear had initially gifted the pipe-tomahawk to just one of his attorneys soon after profitable the 1879 courtroom scenario that created him one of the 1st Indigenous Individuals granted civil legal rights.

The tomahawk transformed fingers numerous instances just before being acquired by Harvard in 1982.

“This is a superior homecoming and a great action in the quite a few techniques we have to do to get back again to our identity, to our ways of our people today,” Angie Starkel, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska who produced the journey to Cambridge, said in a assertion.

Stacy Laravie, a descendant of Standing Bear who is also the historic preservation officer for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, agreed.

“We chat about generational trauma, but we really don’t discuss about generational healing, and that’s what we’re executing now,” she explained in a statement. “This is healing.”

Jane Pickering, director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, explained the tomahawk’s return demonstrates the institution’s desire to maintenance earlier harms.

“The Peabody right benefited from amassing practices that we acknowledge these days overlooked the wishes and values of households and communities,” she said in a assertion.

Harvard and the museum have faced criticism about the rate of repatriating Native American stays and other important objects to tribes, as essential underneath federal law.

The museum and tribes have been performing on the tomahawk’s return for extra than a yr tribal customers have been slated to travel to campus before pandemic-linked restrictions very last 12 months delayed it.

The Ponca tribes say they will announce plans to exhibit the tomahawk at a later on day.

They were being among lots of forcibly relocated from their homelands to other territories by the federal federal government in the 1800s.

Standing Bear was arrested 1878 for leaving the tribe’s Oklahoma reservation in purchase to fulfill a guarantee he created to bury his eldest son again in their tribe’s homeland in Nebraska’s Niobrara River Valley.

In his landmark federal trial, he productively argued for the recognition of Indigenous Americans as people entitled to legal rights and security under law.


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