BOSTON (AP) — A tomahawk erstwhile owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civilian rights leader, has been returned to his people aft being housed for decades successful a depository astatine Harvard University.
Members of the Ponca tribes successful Nebraska and Oklahoma visited the Massachusetts assemblage connected June 3 for the ceremonial instrumentality of the artifact, the tribes said successful a caller announcement.
Standing Bear had primitively talented the pipe-tomahawk to 1 of his lawyers aft winning the 1879 tribunal lawsuit that made him 1 of the archetypal Native Americans granted civilian rights.
The tomahawk changed hands respective times earlier being acquired by Harvard successful 1982.
“This is simply a bully homecoming and a bully measurement successful the galore steps we person to bash to get backmost to our identity, to our ways of our people,” Angie Starkel, a subordinate of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska who made the travel to Cambridge, said successful a statement.
Stacy Laravie, a descendant of Standing Bear who is besides the historical preservation serviceman for the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, agreed.
“We speech astir generational trauma, but we don’t speech astir generational healing, and that’s what we’re doing now,” she said successful a statement. “This is healing.”
Jane Pickering, manager of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, said the tomahawk’s instrumentality reflects the institution’s tendency to repair past harms.
“The Peabody straight benefited from collecting practices that we admit contiguous ignored the wishes and values of families and communities,” she said successful a statement.
Harvard and the depository person faced criticism implicit the gait of repatriating Native American remains and different important objects to tribes, arsenic required nether national law.
The depository and tribes person been moving connected the tomahawk’s instrumentality for much than a year; tribal members were slated to question to field earlier pandemic-related restrictions past twelvemonth delayed it.
The Ponca tribes accidental they volition denote plans to grounds the tomahawk astatine a aboriginal date.
They were among galore forcibly relocated from their homelands to different territories by the national authorities successful the 1800s.
Standing Bear was arrested 1878 for leaving the tribe’s Oklahoma preservation successful bid to fulfill a committedness helium made to hide his eldest lad backmost successful their tribe’s homeland successful Nebraska’s Niobrara River Valley.
In his landmark national trial, helium successfully argued for the designation of Native Americans arsenic persons entitled to rights and extortion nether law.