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.