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Albion – A Michigan college will return a Native American war god idol to a southwestern U.S. Native American tribe.

The Jackson Citizen Patriot reports that Albion College will return the Ahayuda idol to the Zuni tribe on Thursday.

School officials say the idol is about 2 feet long and dates back to the 19th century. Ahayuda are traditionally carved from Cottonwood trees that have been struck by lightning.

Bille Wickre is a professor of art history at the college. She says the Ahayuda is a symbol of peace and protection.

Wickre says the school received the idol in 1973, though there are no records of how the original donor acquired the piece. The repatriation process began after Wickre discovered the idol in storage in 2015 and a scholar identified the artifact.

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