People of the Waters - Fur Trade
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Medal, Peace
This medal was presented to Menominee Chief Oshkosh probably at the October 18, 1848 Treaty at Lake Pow-aw-hay-kon-nay (Poygan) in which the Menominee Indians unwillingly ceded all their land in Wisconsin in exchange for land in Minnesota and $350,000. (Ourada, pg. 108) The Menominee, however, never left Wisconsin and finally, after much effort by the Menominee and others, the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin was established in an 1854 treaty.

The James K. Polk Peace Medals bearing the date of Polk's inauguration, 1845, were struck in 1846. A total of 60 large (3 inch), 100 medium (2.5 inch) and 100 small (2 inch) sizes were made. Of that total, 49 large, 83 medium and 94 small were returned late in 1849 to the Philadelphia Mint to be melted down to make medals for the Zachary Taylor presidency. The obverse has a profile bust of Polk and inscription "JAMES K. POLK PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 1845". The reverse is the same as that made for the Madison medals: two clasped hands (one wrist has a military uniform cuff representing the U. S. government, and the other wrist is bare representing the Native American Indian), a crossed tomahawk and peace pipe, and the words "PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP".
At formal gatherings of Native people and U.S. government officials, especially treaties, the federal government handed out "peace medals." The medals, cast at the U.S. mint, were intended as symbols of friendship. Among some tribes, medals were symbols of power and influence. Most medals did not have holes. These were added later by Native Americans so they could be worn.
Kannenberg, Arthur P.
L-18.25 D-0.189 Dia-3 inches
Chief Oshkosh
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