Antiques | Collecting News

Native American Pipe returned to tribe


A Native American catlinite pipe has been returned to the Dakota people following its controversial auction last week.
The lot realised $39,975 in the sale, more than double the $20,000 it was expected to sell for.

However, the anonymous buyer has announced they plan to give it back to the tribe.

While Native American artefacts are traded regularly, tribes have raised objections to the sale of certain objects in the past.  

This piece had an added weight due to its connection to the 1862 Dakota War and the trials that followed.

A contemporary illustration of the 1862 Makato hangings (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

The war was fought between the Dakota and the US government. There were several causes, including treaty violations on the US side and food shortages among the Dakota. On August 17 a band of Dakota killed a group of settlers. The Dakota then began burning and pillaging settlements.

The US response was swift and bloody. By December the Dakota were defeated. The trials were held in the town of Mankato, Minnesota. In all 38 Dakota warriors were hanged on December 26, 1862 – still the biggest one day execution ever carried out in the US.

The pipe was accompanied by a note reading: "Indian pipe, Made by a Sioux Chief "White Dog…"

White Dog was one of the men hanged that day for his part in an ambush at Redwood Ferry. The Reverend Stephen R Riggs, a missionary who worked with the Dakota people, spoke with White Dog during the trial.

He later wrote that White Dog told him ”that his position and conduct at the ferry was misunderstood and misrepresented…

“He complains bitterly that he did not have a chance to tell things as they were; that he could not have an opportunity of rebutting the false testimony against him"

Before his execution White Dog gifted this pipe to an American soldier in a gesture of peace.

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