BOSTON (AP) — A tomahawk as soon as owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights chief, has been returned to his tribe after being housed for many years in a museum at Harvard College.
Members of the Ponca tribes in Nebraska and Oklahoma visited the Massachusetts college on June 3 for the ceremonial return of the artifact, the tribes stated in a latest announcement.
Standing Bear had initially gifted the pipe-tomahawk to considered one of his legal professionals after successful the 1879 court docket case that made him one of many first Native People granted civil rights.
The tomahawk modified arms a number of instances earlier than being acquired by Harvard in 1982.
“It is a good homecoming and a superb step within the many steps now we have to do to get again to our identification, to our methods of our individuals,” Angie Starkel, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska who made the journey to Cambridge , stated in a press release.
Stacy Laravie, a descendant of Standing Bear who can be the historic preservation officer for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, agreed.
“We speak about generational trauma, however we do not speak about generational therapeutic, and that is what we’re doing now,” she stated in a press release. “That is therapeutic.”
Jane Pickering, director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, stated the tomahawk’s return displays the establishment’s want to restore previous harms.
“The Peabody straight benefited from amassing practices that we acknowledge at this time ignored the needs and values of households and communities,” she stated in a press release.
Harvard and the museum have confronted criticism over the tempo of repatriating Native American stays and different important objects to tribes, as required underneath federal regulation.
The museum and tribes have been engaged on the tomahawk’s return for greater than a yr; tribal members have been slated to journey to campus earlier than pandemic-related restrictions final yr delayed it.
The Ponca tribes say they may announce plans to exhibit the tomahawk at a later date.
They have been amongst many forcibly relocated from their homelands to different territories by the federal authorities within the 1800s.
Standing Bear was arrested 1878 for leaving the tribe’s Oklahoma reservation with the intention to fulfill a promise he made to bury his eldest son again in his tribe’s homeland in Nebraska’s Niobrara River Valley.
In his landmark federal trial, he efficiently argued for the popularity of Native People as individuals entitled to rights and safety underneath regulation.