Long before the Republic of Texas settled in what is now Grapevine, various Native American tribes lived off the land for many years. Then in 1843, in what was known as Grape Vine Prairie, 10 Native American chiefs and captains met with Republic of Texas President Sam Houston in the spirit of peace, friendship, hope and trust. This meeting would eventually lead to the signing of the Treaty of Bird's Fort.

To commemorate this historical event, the city of Grapevine unveiled a new public art installation on Sept. 18 in front of Grapevine Main Station called the Peace Circle. The 11 bronze statues feature Sam Houston and Native American chiefs from the Delaware, Chickasaw, Waco, Tawakoni, Keechi, Caddo, Anadarko, Ioni, Biloxi and Cherokee nations.

"Today these men have gathered again on the Grape Vine Prairie at a time when we need them now more than ever, to cause us to reflect and learn about leadership and peace and friendship," Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Paul W. McCallum said. "Today they are not gathered in living human bodies with all its frailties. They have gathered in this circle of bronze to further withstand the test of time. Today we will meet them and their people, and we will reaffirm our commitment to peace and friendship."

In attendance were representatives of each tribe depicted in the art installation as well as direct descendants of some of the chiefs.

Rita Johnson Ness of the Anadarko nation recently found through genealogy work that she is a direct descendant of Anadarko Chief Jose Maria when she was asked to attend the ceremony. She said this was "one of the highlights of my life."

"[Maria] led the exodus from [Texas] to Oklahoma. And many people were lost on the way. But also there were many happy moments," Ness told Community Impact Newspaper. "They're just often depicted as such somber people, but they were just joyful people, and they wanted peace ... And so that's what this means to me today, and to have been asked to do this is like the culmination of all my work, and it's beautiful."

The larger-than-life statues were created by local artist Linda Lewis who researched along with the Peace Circle Advisory Committee to ensure a historically accurate depiction of each chief.

"As long as [the representatives] were happy and once I realized they were happy, then everything's good because that's for them," Lewis said.

The public art installation can be viewed at 815 S. Main St., Grapevine.