State Museum Displays 18th Century Tomahawk Recently Returned to Museum's Collections

This article originally appeared on the New York State Education Department website on July 5th, 2018.

The New York State Museum announced that an 18th-century Native American tomahawk gifted to Cornplanter, the respected Seneca leader, by President George Washington in 1792 has been returned to the Museum's collections and will go on exhibit in the State Museum's main lobby July 17 through December 30.

Pipe tomohawks were significant objects of intercultural exchange in the 18th century and could be used as smoking pipes; smoking was a common ceremonial practice between parties after reaching an agreement. The meetings between Washington and Cornplanter, also know as Gy-ant-waka, in the 1790s eventually led to the Treaty of Canandaigua (1794), whuch established peace between the sovereign nations of the U.S. and the Haudenosaunee (Iroquios) Confederacy. For nearly 70 years this tomahawk was in the hands of private collectors, after being stolen from the Museum between 1947 and 1950. Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous collector, the pipe tomahawk was returned tothe State Museum's collections in June 2018. Read more...