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 decades in a museum at Harvard University.
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 one in all his attorneys after profitable the 1879 court docket case that made him one of many first Native Americans granted civil rights.
The tomahawk modified fingers a number of instances earlier than being acquired by Harvard in 1982.
“This is a good homecoming and a good step in the many steps we have to do to get back to our identity, to our ways of our people,” Angie Starkel, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska who made the journey to Cambridge, stated in an announcement.
Stacy Laravie, a descendant of Standing Bear who can also be the historic preservation officer for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, agreed.
“We talk about generational trauma, but we don’t talk about generational healing, and that’s what we’re doing now,” she stated in an announcement. “This is healing.”
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 directly benefited from collecting practices that we acknowledge today ignored the wishes and values of families and communities,” she stated in an announcement.
Harvard and the museum have confronted criticism over the pace of repatriating Native American stays and different vital objects to tribes, as required below federal regulation.
The museum and tribes have been engaged on the tomahawk’s return for greater than a year; tribal members had been slated to journey to campus earlier than pandemic-related restrictions final year delayed it.
The Ponca tribes say they’ll announce plans to exhibit the tomahawk at a later date.
They had 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 to be able to fulfill a promise he made to bury his eldest son again of their tribe’s homeland in Nebraska’s Niobrara River Valley.
In his landmark federal trial, he efficiently argued for the popularity of Native Americans as individuals entitled to rights and safety below regulation.