SALAMANCA — The Seneca Nation of Indians recently welcomed several members of the New York State Legislature to the Allegany Territory for a relationship-building meeting and discussion.
Seneca Nation President Rickey Armstrong Sr. and members of the Nation Council met with Sens. Timothy M. Kennedy and Joseph P. Addabbo, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblyman Sean Ryan. The meeting included a tour of the Nation’s Onöhsagwe:de’ Cultural Center.
During the visit, Nation leaders discussed transportation and infrastructure matters and the potential for the Nation to permanently retain and display the historic pipe tomahawk of respected Seneca leader and diplomat Cornplanter, which is currently on loan from the New York State Museum.
“We were happy to welcome our guests from the New York State Senate and Assembly to Seneca Territory,” said Armstrong. “Our governments interact on several levels, and it was good to engage the New York legislators in respectful, productive dialogue on issues of mutual interest, as well as share with them information on our Nation’s history and culture.”
Earlier this year, the Seneca Nation officially welcomed the pipe tomahawk given to Cornplanter by George Washington back to Seneca Territory for the first time in more than 150 years. The tomahawk is currently on display at the Nation’s Onöhsagwe:de’ Cultural Center.
Washington gave the tomahawk to Cornplanter in 1792 as a gift during discussions for the Treaty of Canandaigua. Signed in 1794, the Treaty of Canandaigua confirmed the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee with the United States pledging to honor the land rights of the Haudenosaunee people.
Seneca diplomat Ely Parker donated the tomahawk to the New York State Museum in 1850. Parker had previously purchased the tomahawk from the widow of Seneca resident Small Berry. The tomahawk was later stolen from the New York State Museum between 1947 and 1950, before being returned by an anonymous donor just last year.
“Cornplanter’s tomahawk was a gift that was rooted in mutual respect between governments,” President Armstrong said. “I felt it was very fitting that our guests from New York State were able to see the tomahawk and hear about its history during their visit. We are grateful for the time they spent with us on our territory and for the opportunity to have direct discussions with them.”