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The new statue that will honour Chief Peguis

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A statue to commemorate the life and legacy of a Manitoba Indigenous leader got a little closer to reality on Thursday.

The design for the monument to honour Chief Peguis on the Manitoba Legislative Building grounds was revealed. It will commemorate the 1817 Agreement, which provided land allocation for Lord Selkirk’s settlers as a way to alleviate the concerns of fur traders.

“He realized he had to have a treaty or an agreement with Peguis First Nation, or what was then known as the Indigenous people of the area,” said Bill Shead, co-chair of the Friends of the Peguis Selkirk Treaty. “So he persuaded Chief Peguis to bring together four other chiefs, and the five chiefs and (Lord Selkirk) entered into an agreement to share the land.”

He said the agreement created a reservation for the settlers, restricting them to a two-mile area on either side of the Red and Assiniboine River, with Indigenous people occupying the rest.

The monument, designed by J. Wayne Stranger and his son Jordan from Peguis First Nation, will consist of a bronze statue of Chief Peguis standing on a stone plinth that features four bronze medallions inscribed with the chief’s totems.

Five stones surrounding it will feature medallions symbolic of the treaty relationship.

"This statue is to remind people that there was at one time a spirit of sharing and cooperation and peace between peoples," Shead said.

The statue will face east overlooking the main entrance of the legislature, with an arm raised in greeting as if Chief Peguis is blessing everyone working inside.

The monument is expecting to be installed in the fall of 2024, which marks the 160th anniversary of Chief Peguis’ passing.

- With files from Kimberely Rio Wertman.

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