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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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NAGPRA Repatriation

2003: Seneca Nation of Indians

A cultural item in the Hood Museum of Art’s 1993 summary was described as a ball-headed, wooden war club with a carved and painted diamond pattern on the handle. The club was subsequently identified by the Seneca Nation of New York and the Tonowanda Band of Seneca Indians as an unassociated funerary object, as defined under NAGPRA, and was requested for repatriation.

The Seneca based their claim of cultural affiliation on an analysis of the club’s stylistic patterns, which are consistent with other known Seneca war clubs. They also provided evidence that placing such an item with an individual’s remains was a common practice historically. The Seneca further explained that clubs of this type were highly respected individual objects of power, and as such, they would have been placed in close proximity to their owner’s remains. The club was donated to Dartmouth College in 1937 by Charles W. Bethune, Dartmouth Class of 1940 and a resident of Buffalo, New York.

The object was repatriated on December 3, 2003, to the Haudenosaunee Standing Committee on Burial Rules and Regulations on behalf of the Seneca Nation of New York and the Tonowanda Band of Seneca Indians of New York.


Last Updated: 8/16/11