Chief Standing Bear’s Pipe Tomahawk

Jointly, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University are in active discussion about the homecoming of Chief Standing Bear’s pipe tomahawk to the Ponca people.

The timetable for discussion has been established by the tribal nations. As a next step, the tribal chairmen and other tribal representatives have accepted an invitation to visit the Peabody Museum in September to view the pipe tomahawk, as well as three other items associated with Standing Bear, and funerary objects that have been repatriated to the Ponca people under NAGPRA.

The pipe tomahawk was donated to the Peabody Museum in 1982 as part of a bequest from the estate of William Henry Claflin Jr. of Belmont, Massachusetts. According to Mr. Claflin’s personal catalogue, the pipe tomahawk was part of a collection of Native American items that he purchased from the widow of Omaha attorney William R. Morris in July of 1930. The Museum does not know how the pipe tomahawk came into the possession of Mr. Morris.