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 current announcement.

Standing Bear had initially gifted the pipe-tomahawk to considered one of his legal professionals after profitable the 1879 court docket case that made him one of many first Native People granted civil rights.

The tomahawk modified palms a number of instances earlier than being acquired by Harvard in 1982.

“It is a good homecoming and a very good step within the many steps we’ve 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 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 discuss generational trauma, however we don’t discuss generational therapeutic, and that’s what we’re doing now,” she stated in an announcement. “That is therapeutic.”

Jane Pickering, director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, stated the tomahawk’s return displays the establishment’s need to restore previous harms.

“The Peabody instantly benefited from accumulating practices that we acknowledge at present ignored the needs and values of households 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 beneath federal regulation.

The museum and tribes have been engaged on the tomahawk’s return for greater than a 12 months; tribal members have been slated to journey to campus earlier than pandemic-related restrictions final 12 months delayed it.

The Ponca tribes say they are going to 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 in an effort 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 People as individuals entitled to rights and safety beneath regulation.