An original Treaty Six medal from 1876 that was taken from the body of Chief Red Pheasant at his funeral has finally be returned to the community.
The medal was presented to the chief in 1876.
He died of small pox in March 1885 and the medal was taken off his body by an Indian agent and sold to a merchant in England.
The Hudson’s Bay Company acquired the medal in 1952.
In 2002, the Manitoba Museum found it in a collection it received as a donation from the Bay.
Red Pheasant community member, and Liberal MP Robert Falcon Ouellette travelled to Saskatchewan to witness the return of the medal.
“This is significant, one because the Treaty medal traveled a great distance went to England was stolen and has now come home and its symbolic of the relationship between Canada and the Indigenous peoples.
“I think it’s really historic. I understand the dreams of our ancestors they were about having a better life for our children for their children they wanted to see them get an education they wanted good health care or health with the medicine chest and wanted modern amenities to help them be successful in both the indigenous world and non indigenous world.”
Falynn Baptiste, another community member of Red Pheasant who witnessed the return said it symbolizes the struggles of Indigenous peoples over the past 134 years.
And to have the medial returned is a step towards reconciliation.
“For a member of the first nation I think of my grandparents and of people who came before them and the struggles they had as first nations people at a time when it was very difficult to be a first nations person and to have the medal come back home to the people is very momentous its very meaningful,” said Baptiste.
Community leaders and members see this repatriation of the Treaty Six medal as a good sign for future relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.