SEPTEMBER 28, 1864

SAULTEAUX CHIEF PEGUIS (WILLIAM KING) DIED

Born near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, circa 1774, Peguis moved west with his family after a 1781 smallpox epidemic that killed thousands of Ojibwe in the Great Lakes region.  Eventually, they joined the Red Lake Ojibwe Band in current Minnesota.  As chief, he moved his tribe to what is now southern Manitoba in the 1790s.   Upon their arrival at Red River in 1812, he met with settlers, defended them, showed them how to subsist on the land, and later assisted the survivors after the Seven Oaks Incident.  In 1817, he signed the first treaty with Lord Selkirk, granting land along the Red River to the Selkirk settlers.  In 1840, he was one of the early western First Nation converts to Christianity and was given the baptized name William King.  His wife became Victoria King and his children adopted the surname “Prince.”  Although he remained friendly with whites, Peguis later became disillusioned because of trespassing on his reserve and violations of his 1817 treaty with Lord Selkirk.  He died at Red River, Manitoba.

Source:  Hugh A. Dempsey, “Peguis,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2/7/2006.  Retrieved 7/14/2019, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/peguis
Sketch:  Peter Rindisbacher (1806-1834), 1822.  Saulteaux man in winter.  Public Domain in Canada:  Pre-1/1/1949.  Public Domain in the US:  Pre-1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.    

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