Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pocahontas Meets Mulan

The Round Robins are exploring public art this week. My subject may not be great art, but I've always been curious about this bronze statue of Princess Mishawaka reaching for her arrows, her bow braced for shooting. I've passed it hundreds of times, but never stopped to see it.

I knew the princess was the daughter of a local chief, and that the city was named for her, but that's about it. From the plaque on the statue, I discovered that there's quite a tale to tell:

(Click photo to enlarge.)

According to legend, the Shawnee Chief Elkhart had a daughter named Princess Mishawaka. Her name meant "Swift Water." The city of Mishawaka's namesake is remembered as a proud, intelligent and fearless maiden, skilled in weapons and horsemanship.

When Chief Elkhart was severely wounded in a battle with the Potawatomi, Mishawaka rallied the Shawnee. While leading the attack, she was captured and held hostage. During her captivity, she fell in love with a young white scout named Dead Shot.

Gray Wolf, a Shawnee subchief, also wanted the princess for his wife but had been rejected. Gray Wolf rescued Mishawaka from her captors to return her to her father to gain favor.

Dead Shot intervened, and the suitors fought. Sensing defeat, the vengeful Gray Wolf stabbed Mishawaka before his death.

Dead Shot nursed the princess back to health and married her. They lived in a cabin by the Saint Joseph River, and worked for peace between the settlers and the Indian tribes.

You'd think they'd have made it into a movie by now.

The artist is Sufi Ahmad, about whom I have been able to find absolutely nothing. I imagine there's an interesting story there, too.

For more art in public places, check out the Round Robins Homepage.


Sandcastle Momma said...

What a great statue and story! The story does sound familiar, doesn't it? LOL Great job!

Wammy said...

Love the history lesson...nothing like a teachable moment! Good stuff here.

Em Dy said...

Great story. The love triangle is really one subject that never goes out of date.

The story is a bit like Twilight too. Bella, the wolf and the vampire.

swampy said...

Don't you just love the history behind the art?

Great photo and thanks for taking the time to educate us on it.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Pamela said...

that is wonderful - gives me chills.
(yeah, where is the movie!!?)

ps. Potawatomi is a wonderful word to say

Carly said...

Hi Vicki :)

WOW! What an amazing story. So romantic! I agree, it would make a wonderful movie. Someone should make it. I could see Ben Affleck, maybe Liv Tyler, Bruce Willis... oh wait... that was Armageddon! LOL. No really, I enjoyed reading about the indian maiden, thank you so much for doing the research.

Hugs, Carly

Molly said...

Thank for the history lesson. Although I have lived in Indiana my whole life, I do not remember the story of Princess Mishawaka Dead Shot, and Gray Wolf. That does seem like a wonderful story for a movie.

Rambling Woods said...

I love a happy ending....

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I like the statue - historic and well executed. She's pretty but not precious or unrealistically feminine in her stance. Best of all, she gets a happy ending!

TJ said...

Very cool! Story and the enlarged photo...quite the entry.
Thanks for sharing.

Teena in Toronto said...

So nice :)

I played too :)

MyMaracas said...

Glad you guys liked this one! I know the photo and the statue aren't the greatest, but I couldn't resist the story. And Pamela, I agree--"Potawatomi" is a lot of fun to say. (It's Pot-uh-WAHT-uh-mee.)

Gattina said...

very nice statue and such an interesting story ! I love this kind !