Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Native American Leaders Haven’t Retrieved Tomahawk They Demanded Back From Harvard

Native American Leaders Haven’t Retrieved Tomahawk They Demanded Back From Harvard

“The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs had previously shared in June 2021 that Ponca representatives would travel in September to retrieve it.”

It has been a year since this demand was originally made. Was it really that important?

The College Fix reports:

Tribal reps a no show to pick up tomahawk they demanded back from Harvard

Native American leaders still have not gone to retrieve a tomahawk from Harvard University, nearly a year after the school agreed to return the artifact.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard told The College Fix it “deaccessioned the Standing Bear pipe tomahawk to the Ponca tribal nations last fall,” meaning that it no longer displays the item (pictured) publicly. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs had previously shared in June 2021 that Ponca representatives would travel in September to retrieve it.

Chief Standing Bear was the first person to get the U.S. government to acknowledge Native Americans as “persons” under the law and entitled to Constitutional protections. He gifted the tomahawk to one of his attorneys, John Webster, whose estate later sold it, and eventually a collector bought it and donated it to Harvard.

“The nature, timing etc. of the physical transfer to the Ponca is a matter for the tribal governments and I refer you to them for that information,” museum director Jane Pickering told The Fix on April 22.

Pickering did not answer questions about steps the museum took to return the tomahawk, the reasons for canceling the initial trip, costs for maintaining the tomahawk and whether Harvard would be open to sending a representative to the tribe’s headquarters in Nebraska.

The Harvard Crimson reported that COVID concerns in October led the tribal representatives to cancel the trip.

The Fix reached out to the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska to ask whether it plans to travel to retrieve the artifact, what the obstacles have been to traveling and whether it would be open to having a Harvard representative bring the tomahawk to Nebraska. The tribe did not respond to these inquiries through their website on April 18 nor an email to its listed address on April 25.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Morning Sunshine | April 29, 2022 at 10:08 am

wait, so the tomahawk was LEGALLY acquired by the university (through ALL the transfers from the original owner to Harvard), and someone has demanded it back and it was given to them. At least in name if not physically? this story is so messed up

A forged metal tomahawk that formerly belonged to Ponca chief Standing Bear that had originally been manufactured by a white man in a blacksmith shop….

I suppose his Winchester rifle was an Indian artifact also.

    1073 in reply to Peabody. | April 29, 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Russian artifact.
    “Native Americans” are not native to the America’s. They walked across a land bridge from what is now Russia.

    If you follow evolutionary theory, we are all African.
    If not, we are all the children of Adam and Eve.

    But no one is Native to America.

“Chief Standing Bear… gifted the tomahawk to one of his attorneys…”
“Tribal reps… demanded [it] back from Harvard…”
“Tribal reps a no show…”
“The tribe did not respond to these inquiries…”

Can someone help me find any part of this article that does not reinforce unfortunate ethnic stereotypes?

They thought they would refuse and then then could sue for its return, but they simply agreed and no free publicity. They really did not care where it was. returning it would be one more bit of their culture erased.