Natural Sciences

Harvard Returns Standing Bear’s Tomahawk To Nebraska Tribe

Written by Mamie M. Arndt



BOSTON (AP) — A tomahawk when owned by Main Standing Bear, a groundbreaking Native American civil rights leader, has been returned to his tribe just after being housed for many years in a museum at Harvard College.

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

Standing Bear experienced originally gifted the pipe-tomahawk to a person of his lawyers just after successful the 1879 court scenario that manufactured him 1 of the first Indigenous People granted civil rights.

The tomahawk altered fingers many situations just before remaining obtained by Harvard in 1982.

“This is a excellent homecoming and a fantastic phase in the numerous ways we have to do to get back again to our identity, to our ways of our folks,” Angie Starkel, a member of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska who built the excursion to Cambridge, stated 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 talk about generational trauma, but we really don’t speak about generational therapeutic, and which is what we’re accomplishing now,” she reported in a statement. “This is healing.”

Jane Pickering, director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, mentioned the tomahawk’s return demonstrates the institution’s desire to repair service past harms.

“The Peabody directly benefited from accumulating practices that we admit these days overlooked the wishes and values of families and communities,” she mentioned in a assertion.

Harvard and the museum have confronted criticism around the rate of repatriating Indigenous American continues to be and other important objects to tribes, as needed beneath federal regulation.

The museum and tribes have been functioning on the tomahawk’s return for extra than a 12 months tribal associates had been slated to vacation to campus just before pandemic-connected limitations very last calendar year delayed it.

The Ponca tribes say they will announce programs to exhibit the tomahawk at a afterwards day.

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

Standing Bear was arrested 1878 for leaving the tribe’s Oklahoma reservation in order to satisfy a promise he built to bury his eldest son again in their tribe’s homeland in Nebraska’s Niobrara River Valley.

In his landmark federal trial, he successfully argued for the recognition of Indigenous Americans as folks entitled to rights and security below regulation.





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Mamie M. Arndt