Have you ever received a gift that had a special meaning to you or your family? When artist Otto Plaug traveled to New Mexico in 1921 he befriended the man in the portrait, Trevio Kouni, who was a former governor of the Laguna Pueblo and recipient of a gift from Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, President Lincoln gifted an ebony cane with a silver crown to each of the governors of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblos. Each cane was engraved with “A. Lincoln” and the name of the Pueblo on the top of the crown. With this gesture, Lincoln became the first United States President to recognize the sovereignty, or independence, of all 19 Pueblos. For each of the tribes the gifted canes represent leadership and self-governess. These canes remain an important symbol today as they are still used by Pueblo governors to represent authority and the relationship of the Puebloan people with the United States government. If you are interested in learning more about the “Lincoln Canes” check out the documentary entitled Canes of Power released in 2012 which documents the history of these important objects.