This important limited edition re-strike Indian Chief medal has been issued as part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation. Between 1760 and 1923, the British Crown presented several different medals to North American Indian Chiefs as tokens of friendship, to win their allegiance, to reward them for services, and to mark the conclusion of treaties. Perhaps the most important and most artistic of these medals were the “numbered treaty medals” issued by the Canadian government between 1872 and 1923. These were designed and produced by the leading medalists of the era, J.S. and A.B. Wyon in England. The beautiful design features a high relief image of a Canadian Treaty Commissioner shaking hands with an Indian Chief, both in formal dress, with a tomahawk between their feet and the sun and teepees in background. The obverse of the medals awarded prior to 1902 featured a high relief effigy of Queen Victoria. As only a few chiefs signed each treaty, original medals are extremely rare and valuable.
This limited re-strike of the original design in silver is the same large 76 mm (3 inch) diameter as the original medals, and is marked “Treaty No. 6, 1876”.
According to Michael Anderson, research director of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (an organization that defends the political interests of the some 30 groups that signed treaties 4, 5, 6 and 10), “this handshake symbolizes the profound meaning of historic treaties. . . . The essence of the treaty was to create a nation together that will exist in perpetuity, for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the waters flow. . . . The core concept is to share the traditional land of the First Nations who have entered into a treaty with the Crown and the Canadian settlers, and also to benefit from the Crown’s resources, such as medicine and education."