This statue honors Chief Clinton Rickard, Tuscarora leader in the early 20th century who is best known for his work as the founder of the Indian Defense League. The league fought to maintain Native American sovereignty for area tribes, including the right to travel freely between the United States and Canadian border. These rights had previously been granted to Native tribes as part of the Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain in 1794.
Chief Clinton Rickard was a Tuscarora leader and founder of the Indian Defense League in 1926. He was born in 1882 on the Tuscarora Reservation near Sanborn, New York. Even though he lacked a formal education, Chief Rickard became known among many prominent and important influential people as an expert on American Indian legal history. In the early 1900s, he became a leading voice for Native American tribal sovereignty. He worked tirelessly to enforce existing treaties, including the provision that allowed free travel across the United States and Canadian border. The border was never been recognized or acknowledged by the Haudenosaunee people.
Clinton Rickard Obituary. New York Times. June 17, 1973. Accessed August 20, 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/1971/06/17/archives/clinton-rickard-91-tuscaroras-chief.html.