The ten ounce fine silver “Indian Treaty Medal” restrike medal represents an important part of Canadian history. It was originally issued in 1876 when it was presented to the Native Canadian chiefs who signed Treaty Number 6 with the government of Canada. While original medals are rarely encountered outside of museums and can sell for as much as $40,000, this restrike is identical to the originals except for edge lettering indicating it is 10 ounces .9999 pure silver. Mintage is limited to only 1,000 pieces, with a diameter of 76 mm. This item is HST/GST exempt.
Between 1760 and 1923, the British Crown presented several different medals to North American First Nations 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 Treaty Commissioner is the representative of the Queen, and yet the two figures are presented as equals, both standing proudly with similar stature. The native chief is presented as a figure of strength, with clearly defined muscles and an expression of confidence.
Treaty 6 is an agreement between the Canadian monarch and the Plains and Woods Cree, Assiniboine, and other band governments of First Nations at Fort Carlton and Fort Pitt. The area agreed upon by the Plains and Woods Cree represents most of the central area of the current provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. One Manitoba band also signed on to the treaty by adhesion in 1898. The treaty signings began in August 1876, with adhesions added later, the last being signed in 1898 in central Saskatchewan in the Montreal Lake area.
According to Michael Anderson, research director of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (an organization that defends the political interests of the 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."