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Pipe Tomahawk, Creek, Oklahoma, ca. 1815-1830

Symbolizing both the weapons of war and the ceremonies of peace, tomahawks that could also be smoked as peace pipes were sometimes used in treaty ceremonies between Native leaders and representatives of the U.S. government. This pipe tomahawk was probably made in Alabama or Georgia and carried on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma, where it was found in the hands of a Creek family around 1910.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian

Pipe Tomahawk, Creek, Oklahoma, ca. 1815-1830

Images of the Era: 1815-1851

Following the War of 1812, a stronger sense of national unity emerged in the United States. As America expanded westward, however, attempts to spread slavery into those new territories seriously divided the nation.