North American Indian Peace Medals

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North American Indian Peace medals

 

We have been privileged to see many distinguished Indian peace medals on our Roadshow tours of Canada and share some of them with you now.

 

 

Indian peace medal

 

 

 

 In 1801, following a tradition that had begun in Colonial times, the United States began minting large silver Peace Medals used in diplomatic relations with American Indians. These gifts were not only awarded in connection with the signing of treaties but also for 'services rendered.'

 

 The actual practice of presenting Peace Medals was begun by the British, French and Spanish well before this, mainly as a symbol of maintaining peaceful relations with Indian Nations and was described by Thomas Jefferson in 1793 as:

"An ancient custom from time immemorial.

"These medals," he went on to say;

" Are considered as complimentary things, as marks of friendship to those who come to see us, or who do us good offices, conciliatory of their good will towards us, and not designed to produce a contrary disposition towards others.

 

Charles Bird King Portrait Chenannoquot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oil Painting by: Charles Bird King, Chenannoquot.

A Menominee Chief  wearing

his Peace medals

Examples of peace medals.  

                                          

 

                        

The 1801

Thomas JEFFERSON PEACE &

FRIENDSHIP MEDAL

1801 Thomas JEFFERSON PEACE & Friendship medalJefferson peace medal

 

 

 

George II Indian Peace Medal

King George II

'Quaker' Medal-1757


George II peace medal

George III England

Peace medal 1768

 

George III England Indian peace medal

 The small round George II Indian Peace Medal (Pictured above) ("Georgius II Dei Gratia), has a Quaker figure on the reverse side illustrated, offering a peace pipe to an Indian.

This is the most frequently seen piece.
Actually this is a U.S. Mint stiking, and given by Quakers in silver to nearby Indian Chiefs. it has been a popular collector item in copper since before 1860.
It exists in its original state, like this one in silver, but has been extensively cast-copied in silver, copper and in modern bronze and other base metals since.
Modern specimens are of modest value.


Some 200 years ago with the

war raging between the British

and Americans, it was to the

great Indian tribes on both

sides of the border that the

warring armies turned - as

their allies

Silver - 10.5 cm in Dia. (Above)
Reverse: is a bust of Thomas Jefferson with inscription
"T.H. Jefferson, President of the United States, A.D. 1801" This medal was Created for the Lewis and Clark Expedition and were cast in several different sizes.

These medals were distributed according to the rank or status that was perceived of the intended recipients.
'Black Moccasin' was one such recipient, so were Mandan leaders 'Sheheke' (Big White) and 'Posecopsahe' - better known as the black cat. he was thought by Lewis and Clark to be the sole chief of the upper Mandan village. (Roo-Tar-hee or Nuptadi) Both captains remarked on his intelligence and friendliness.  However, He was a good host to British fur traders in 1806, but still made a point of displaying the American flag that the 2 captains had given him.

After Lewis returned he wrote of him in his journal:

"This man possesses more integrity, firmness, intelligence and perspicuity of mind than any Indian I have met with in this quarter, and I think with a little management he may be made a useful agent in furthering the views of our government."


 

 

Washington - before Boston peace medal.

 

 

 

 

Washington - before Boston medal.

This was first authorized by Congress

in 1776 in order to commemorate America's first decisive victory of the war at the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge in February of 1776. It was not struck till some ten years later however.

 

 

The Washington Peace Medal

 The story goes, that to one Canadian Ojibway Chief, John Aissance (who's name means Little Shell) given as a
mark of respect from the British for his nations role in the struggle, was the
silver peace medal illustrated above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Washington Peace Medal

This PEace medal (Left) was First struck in 1808 to commemorate the Treaty of Paris.

Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were regarded as principals in its achievement.

 


 
 

 

 

 

There are basically only 3 types of IPM's -  American Indian Peace Medals - Authentic and Re-strike or Copy.

With Indian peace medals, authenticity is always a question and authentication experts are a rare breed.

 

 

 

Bibliography    

Parker, A.G., "Lincoln Indian Peace Medal," in The Numismatist Vol. 26 (1913), p. 132.

Rita Laws - Indian Peace Medals

Father Francis Paul Prucha

Indian Peace Medals in American History

"The Beauty and Lore of Coins, Currency and Medals," by Elvira and Vladimir Clain-Stefanelli

"The Art of the Medal," by Mark Jones.

 

MEDALS STRUCK by the U.S. MINT, The First Century 1792-1892, R. W. Julian.

The Indian Peace Medals of George III, or His Majesty's Sometime Allies, John Adams

INDIAN PEACE MEDALS, Belden. 1966 .

Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., The Image of Thomas Jefferson in the Public Eye (Charlottesville, Virginia, 1981), pp.73-8

 

 

 

 

Peace Medals and their Categories of Purpose

 

 

There are 7 purposes behind the giving of Indian Peace Medals, each presentation encompasses one or more of these:

Symbolic (The promise of peace, ongoing friendship, respect, or gratitude)

Pro-active (in order to prevent conflict)

Peacmaking (trying to stop conflict that existed)

Political (to create a chief, to intimidate one, or to gain a political alliance)

Economic (to gain passage, trapping, mining, or trading rights in an area)

Commemorative (of a treaty, notable date, person, thing, or event),

Fulfillment (due to a request by tribes for replacement or additional medals).

David Freeman 2004

                                                                                          

 

 

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MILITARY MEDALS AND ORDERS
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GEORGE III - INDIAN PEACE MEDAL
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HISTORICA SCHOLASTICA  PETRUS COMESTORE
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REFERENCE: KEY WORDS ON THIS PAGE:

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