SALAMANCA, N.Y. — Peace. Friendship. Respect. All the things the Tomahawk Pipe represents to the Seneca Nation. After missing for 72 years, it is finally back home at the at the Seneca Iroquois national museum in Salamanca.
“It feels like a relative come home our leader come home,” Ricky L. Amrstrong Sr., president of the Seneca Nation, said.
As the nations first president, George Washington gave this token of peace to Chief Cornplanter, a famous Seneca Nation leader, in 1792. It was the first step in the signing of the Treaty of Canadiagua, which two years later recognized the sovereignty of the Seneca Nation.
“This is an iconic piece symbolizing our two governments," David Gore Shongo, the museum director, said.
This tomahawk pipe has had a long journey home. It was given to the New York State Museum in 1850. Then in 1947 - it was stolen. According to Seneca Nation members it surfaced on the black market a few times commanding tens of thousands of dollars. It was only until an anonymous donor returned it to the New York State Museum which in turn gave it to the Seneca Nation.
“Till June of 2018 no one knew where it was, don’t know where it came from gave to them anonymously.”
Now back on Seneca Territory, some people are shocked that a relic they only read about in history textbooks is right in front of their eyes.
“to look at something to know that George Washington corn planter all those guys all those chiefs touched it interacted with it.”
The pipe is only at the musuem on loan for six months. The Seneca Nation says it wants to keep it indefinitely, so they will speak with the New York State Museum.
Seneca Nation said they will get the tomahawk pipe back in Seneca Time. Meaning, they will take as long as they need to keep it in Salamanca permanently.