Missing peace pipe returnsA 162-year-old peace pipe smoked by Chippewa Chief Buffalo and President Fillmore has been found and returned this week to the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwa
By: Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A 162-year-old peace pipe smoked by Chippewa Chief Buffalo and President Fillmore has been found and returned this week to the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwa.
Rumors of the existence of this treasured piece of history circulated for years. Then a few weeks ago, Red Cliff Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Larry Balber got the call from descendants of the pipe's keepers. He says he was “absolutely floored.”
This peace pipe was made around 1848 when the federal government and mineral speculators tried to force tribes from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Balber says chiefs sent out messengers to see if they had violated earlier treaties with Washington.
By 1852, Ojibwa Chief Buffalo led a delegation that canoed, walked and took trains to smoke this pipe with President Millard Fillmore. The meeting led to the Treaty of 1854, guaranteeing reservation land for American Indians. But even today, Balber says pressure to extract minerals or develop land continues. He says a lot of his work deals with the location of ancestors “who are inconveniently buried in a location of prime development."
Balber says that makes this peace pipe a symbol of not just the past but also the future.