On Indigenous People’s Day the Accola Griefen Gallery was pleased to The Broken Treaty Medallions. The Broken Treaty Medallions are designed to create change through awareness about the 370 broken treaties between the US government and the North American Indian Tribes whose lands were illegally taken from them. Each work features a unique, hand-made, white porcelain medallion with images derived from artist Gina Adams’ Treaty with the Chippewa Broken Treaty Quilt. The verso is imprinted with birch bark as are the beads that frame the medal which hangs on a hand-knit organic hemp cord. There are 100 works in this limited edition & 10 artist’s proofs created by the firing process. 50% of sales are donated to the ArtTable Fellowship Program to support the participation of Native American women pursuing careers in museums and in the arts.
Adams explains –For Gina Adams full statement please use this link.
My interest in peace treaty medals started in 2013 when I found photographs of chiefs from the plains wearing medallions in the archives of the Spencer Museum in Lawrence, Kansas. Peace treaty medals were presented to “deserving Indians” or chiefs who did the bidding of the Indian Agents of the U.S. government. They complied by signing treaties and were forcibly removed to reservations. Their children were taken from them and sent to assimilation boarding schools, many to never return.
In 2015, during the opening of my solo exhibition at the Nerman Museum a friend gifted me an original Grover Cleveland 1885 peace treaty medallion, placing it around my neck. I immediately felt the weight of it. The experience was life changing. I felt the weight of the years that had passed since the medal was made, but most importantly, the weight of the fact that very little has changed in 135 years. The words on the back read “peace and friendship”, but they are hollow. The promises of truth and honor the medals were supposed to represent were never kept.
For more information on the Accola Griefen Gallery please visit – www.accolagriefen.com.
For more information on Gina Adams and the process she and collaborator Annie Buchholz used create the Broken Treaty Medallions use this link.