One necklace can hold a great deal of history. Once upon a time, you could find these coins in circulation. As a kid, I remember getting a buffalo nickel as change from a food vendor at the State Fair. I asked my mother what it was and she explained that it was a commemorative nickel and an apology for the way the US Government treated Native Americans as the country grew. Although her explanation is a simplification, it holds truths. She went on to tell me about Manifest Destiny and the havoc that flowed before it like a ship’s destructive bow wave.This pendant features an engraving of a Native American man with two feathers on the obverse side. In 1911 James Earle Fraser, also famous for his larger than life-sized statue titled, “End of the Trail,” made the sketch of the now-famous design. Approved for production the following year, his artistic vision was difficult to render, and coins weathered, losing details quickly.
On the reverse, Fraser sketched an American Bison, commonly referred to as a Buffalo. The now expanding population of American Bison, only rescued from extinction by a national effort to cross-breed the dwindling population with domesticated cattle, is finally making headway. Since 2016, after 100 years of absence, the first real Bison herds graze under the supervision of the Blackfeet Tribe in Montana. This is a wonderful story of resilience on behalf of the Bison, and also a hopeful story when it comes to Americans who care enough to start taking responsibility for the country’s past actions.
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