09/30/2014 10:52 EDT | Updated 11/30/2014 05:59 EST

Fate steps in to help bring historic medal home to Saskatchewan First Nations

REGINA - Luck and generosity appear to have played roles in a rare and spiritually significant medal finding its way home 140 years after it was presented to aboriginal chiefs at a historic treaty signing in Saskatchewan.

The medal was among 21 presented to each chief who signed Treaty Four on Sept. 15, 1874, and is the only one ever recovered by First Nations who are part of the treaty.

The item was in a private collection that went on the auction block in London, Ont., earlier this month as part of an estate sale.

Treaty Four members found out about the sale by accident and that's when Paula Acoose and her artist-husband, Ray McCallum, of Saskatchewan bought it for a total of $48,000.

Treaty Four elders, leaders and members were at the Regina airport when the medal arrived Monday and was personally delivered by a representative from the auction house where it was sold.

Plans are being made to hold a number of fundraising events to repay Acoose and McCallum for the cost of buying the medal.

Lynn Acoose, Paula's sister and chief of the Sakimay First Nation, says they didn't have the money to purchase the iconic piece and they were fortunate the couple agreed to buy it on their behalf.

“It is a signal of the strength of our treaty that our treaty medal is coming back and it's also an affirmation of our relationship with the Crown,” said Acoose. (CJLR)