Tag Archives: HBC Trade Gifts

Rare HBC Gift Item to First Nations Leaders

A rare gold plated pendant given to First Nations trade leaders is featured on the Canadian Museum of History web site article Symbol of Change.

The piece is significant because “most trade jewelry given to Aboriginal people was made of silver, not gold plate. Second, it is a rare example of gold work from well-known Montréal silversmith Charles Arnoldi (1779–1817).”

Beyond this, it represents the need for the HBC to solidify close ties with  First Nations trade leaders to combat competition:

The pendant would have been perceived by many as a sign of equality between traders and Aboriginal people in the Western regions. “Aboriginal people tended not to trade unless they had some kind of bond with the traders,” says Timothy P. Foran, Curator of British North America at the Museum. “For the most part, they engaged in trade on their own terms and European newcomers had to respect Aboriginal customs. . . “

Although apparently incorrectly described by the CMH as “engraved” rather than embossed, the pendant presents additional material evidence supporting the interpretation of Paul C. Thistle’s Indian-European Trade Relations in the Lower Saskatchewan River Region to 1840.

An inquiry about this artifact obtained full curatorial descriptive information.  Courtesy of the Canadian Museum of History, see the PDF of this detailed record at CMH Pendant Data FM Paul Thistle.

HBC gold plated pendant gifted to First Nation trade leader. Canadian Museum of History mch2_09_2015.png

Oval gold-plated lead pendant, 10 cm x 7.5 cm, struck 1800–1815, & gifted to First Nation trade leaders. Canadian Museum of History mch2_09_2015.png