CANADA Indian Chief Medal 1860 Victoria Prince of Wales 75.5mm silver medal 166 grams Jamieson 33
This piece has been polished which would reflect that it has been well loved and perhaps in the hands of the recipient's descendants as opposed to that of a collector.
Obverse: VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIARUM REGINA F:D Bust of Queen Victoria to the left wearing a diadem. W. Wyon appears on the truncation. To the left of the bust there appears the Prince of Wales' feathers with the motto "ICH DIEN" underneath and to the right of the bust the date"1860".
Reverse. Royal arms of the period surrounded by the legend HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE. Below on a ribbon DIEU ET MON DROIT with the date 1840 in the exergue.
Robert McLachlan in his 1899 book, Medals Awarded to the Canadian Indians, offers a condensed version of Robert Cellem's Visit of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the British North American Provinces , Toronto, 1861, page 298-300 where Indian Chief medals were awarded. Here is the unabridged version.
Sarnia, the Prince left the cars and walking along the scarlet
cloth which covered the platform for a hundred yards, he reached
one of the prettiest pavilions he had yet seen. Around it on the
slopes of the railway cutting, and in the station grounds some
5,000 people were seated, and, strangest sight of all, some 200
Indians from the Manitoulin Islands sat on long straight benches
in front. Behind was the beautiful, clear, St. Clair River. The
white houses of Port Huron on the other side glittering in the sun,
and several steamers crowded with people lying at the wharf.
The first part of the ceremony was the least interesting, con-
sisting as it did of the presentation of addresses, in the usual
The Mayor, Thos. W. Johnson, presented his address, and then
the Councillors, standing in a semi-circle around the Prince, were
The Warden of Lambton next came forward, with the County
Council's address, and the County Councillors were then presented
as their brethren from the town had been.
A third address was then delivered by the St. Andrew's
Society, and the President and office-beai'ers also had the honour
of an introduction.
Then commenced one of the most interesting proceedings which
had yet taken place.
The Indians, real red savages, majestic in mein, painted as to
their faces, adorned with hawks' feathers and squirrels' tails as to
their heads, with silver spoons in their noses, moccasins on their
feet, and many of them ignorant of English, came forward, and
one of them, a magnificent specimen of his tribe, named
Kan-wa-ga-shi, or the Great Bear of the North, advancing to the
front, stretching out his right hand yelled out an Indian address
to the Prince, which was translated to him by the Indian inter-
preter, who, as the red man finished each phrase and folded his
arms, gave the meaning of what was said. The whole harangue
was as follows :
BROTHER, GREAT BROTHER The sky is beautiful. It was the
wish of the Great Spirit that we should meet in this place. My
heart is glad that the Queen sent her eldest son to see her Indian
subjects. I am happy to see you hear this day. I hope the sky
will continue to look fine, to give happiness both to the whites
and to the Indians.
GREAT BROTHER When you were a little child your parents
told you there were such people as Indians in Canada, and now,
since you have come to Canada yourself, you can see them. I
am one of the Ogibbeway chiefs, and represent the tribe here
assembled to welcome their Great Brother.
GREAT BROTHER You see the Indians who are around you ;
they have heard that at some future day you will put on the
British Crown, and sit on the British Throne. It is their earnest
disire that you will always remember them.
The Prince replied verbally that he was grateful for the
address; and hoped the sky would always be beautiful, and that
he should never forget his red brethren.
As each phrase was interpreted to the Indians, they yelled
their approbation the sound they uttered seeming like "nee
Then the name of each was called out by the interpreter from
a list handed him by the Governor-General, and each one advanced
in turn. Some had buffalo horns upon their heads; some had
snake skins around their waists; most of them had feathers on
their legs. Almost all had bands around their waists embroidered
with coloured grass or porcupine quills. The Chief shook hands
with the Prince and the Governor, the others bowed, and to each
His Royal Highness gave a medal with the likeness of Her
Majesty on one side the Royal arms on the other. The Chiefs'
medals were as large as the palm of your hand the other Indians
received smaller ones, the size perhaps of half-crowns. Then the red
men brought forward a box and gave it to the Prince. It contained
a tomahawk, bow and arrows, wampums, pipes of peace, and other
Indian curiosities. His Royal Highness graciously received the
present. This interesting ceremony over, the Prince went through
the town of Sarnia, passing under three very fine arches, and was
driven in a carnage drawn by four bay horses, and attended by a
cavalcade of gentlemen and ladies on horseback to Point Edward
to the Grand Trunk railroad station. Here a splendid lunch was
prepared, and the Royal party partook of it. After the three
'usual toasts, which were given with great enthusiasm, the Prince
proposed "Prosperity to the Grand Trunk Railway," which was
enthusiastically honoured. Then the Prince went to the balcony
of the depot, whence a fine view of the St. Clair was obtained,
and embarking on the G. T. steamer, Michigan, running up the
river into lake Huron, which was studded with sailing craft, and
returned at a rapid rate to the Great Western railway station,
where he embarked for London again.