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Stolen piece of history returned to Seneca Nation

Posted at 2:03 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 17:25:44-05

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WKBW) — A stolen piece of history has now been returned to its rightful owners.

On Thursday, the Seneca Nation of Indians hosted a special event at the Onohsagwe:de' Cultural Center in Salamanca, marking the official return of an important piece of history, Cornplanter's Pipe.

In 1792, American President George Washington gave this token of peace to Chief Cornplanter, a famous Seneca Nation leader. It was the first step in the signing of the Treaty of Canadiagua, which two years later recognized the sovereignty of the Seneca Nation.

The 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. Then in June 2018, an anonymous donor realized the piece of history he possessed and returned it to the New York State Museum.

The New York State Museum originally returned the tomahawk to the Nation on temporary loan last year for display at the Onohsagwe:de’ Cultural Center. As of Thursday, the tomahawk will officially remain in Seneca ownership forever.