David Keffer, and his wife Viki, present Wyandotte Nation Chief Billy Friend with a King George III Peace Medal given to tribal leaders in the 1800s, as well as a painting of Chief Bearskin done by Native American artist Lauren J Reed. Keffer sent Reed several pictures of Chief Bearskin, asking her to do the painting.
About the Peace Medal:
The Treaty of Ghent, negotiated in Belgium and signed on Dec. 24, 1814, ended the War of 1812 with the British and restored territories to pre-war status and established a commission to settle Northwest Territory Boundary disputes. Both sides claimed victory. According to the treaty, tribes were to have their possessions, rights and privileges restored to their 1811 status, and tribes were required to cease all aggression against the United States and Britain. All of the First Nations warriors who fought for the British were given a medal bearing the image of King George III. Those Wyandottes at that event were Walk-In-The-Water, Tarhe, Roundhead, Splitlog and Leather Lips as well as numerous other Native leaders at that time. All of those tribal leaders who aligned with the British would have received this medal. There is a legend that Walk-In-The-Water was so disenchanted with the British that he threw his medal into the Detroit River. In recent years, a person found a King George III medal on the shore of the Detroit River in Quebec, Canada; it was sold at an auction to a private collector. Whether this was the one given to Walk-In-The-Water… we may never know.
About the Painting:
Lauren J Reed is a prolific contemporary artist who loves the use of color in her work. She is also an accomplished violin, viola and cello player. Originally from Norman, Okla. She is of Choctaw and Cherokee Native American heritage. She currently lives in Pearland, Texas.