Lakehead University Student’s Art Featured on New Coin

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Mary McPherson pictured with Scene of my Elders Emerging from an Inauthentic Past, a drawing she did last year.

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

Photo courtesy of The Royal Canadian Mint

 
A fourth-year visual arts student at Lakehead University says it feels incredible to have designed one side of a new coin for the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Royal Canadian Mint asked Mary McPherson to participate in the design process for the new coin.

She was thrilled when the Mint chose her image of Tecumseh, a legendary Shawnee war leader who allied himself with the British and heroically led hundreds of First Nations warriors into battle at such places as Fort Meigs and most famously, Detroit.

Released on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the new coin recognizes the 250th anniversary of Tecumseh’s birth.

“It feels incredibly different than the work that I usually produce,” said McPherson, who is Ojibway and a member of Couchiching First Nation.

“I’ve never had an artistic experience quite like this one. I feel extremely grateful to have had the honour of drawing Tecumseh and having the design immortalized on a coin.”

McPherson said she learned a lot during the process.

“What I particularly realized throughout the duration of this project was how Tecumseh had, according to Dickason and Newbigging, ‘sided with the British, not because he liked them particularly but because he saw them as the lesser of two evils,’” she said.

“Tecumseh fought for the wellbeing and independence of his people. He had also united Indigenous nations, in resistance to a divide-and-conquer mentality, while maintaining the essential notion that the land was to be shared among all peoples and was not something to be owned.”

The MM on the right side of the coin represents McPherson’s initials. McPherson said her Lakehead University education helped her immensely with this process.

“Through Visual Arts and Indigenous Learning, I was able to improve my drawing skills, research skills, and time management skills, which aided me in completing this project.”

For more information about the coin, visit the Royal Canadian Mint website.