Madeline Bertrand Statue restored

Published 8:45 am Friday, September 15, 2023

ST. JOSEPH — A historic statue that was stolen from Madeline Bertrand County Park in March and returned in May has returned to its rightful perch in the park, according to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

The Madeline Bertrand Statue was recently restored to its pedestal in the park. The statue was erected in the park in 1983 during the Niles Charter Township Sesquicentennial celebration. Madeline Bertrand, the daughter of Potawatomi Chief Topinabee, married French trader Joseph Bertrand in 1804. After the Potowatomi ceded their lands to the federal government with the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, Madeline Bertrand consented to locate a village on her land, which was named after her husband, one of its founders.

The statue, created by Harold “Tuck” Langland of Granger, Ind., depicts Madeline as a young woman leaving her Native American family to marry Bertrand. This statue has great historical significance to the park, as well as the surrounding area.

County Administrator Brian Dissette noted that Berrien County Parks Director Jill Adams and her staff had reached out to sculptor Tuck Langland to restore and repair the statue after it was returned. The robbers had used force to break the statue off the pedestal, leaving only the ankles and feet of the statue on the pedestal.

“It’s a neat story,” Dissette said. “The staff has worked on the recovery and went back to the sculptor to do the repair. It’s a nice ending to a crummy situation.”