By Cheryl Morgan
OTTISSIPPI is written by local author – Cheryl Morgan. It is the New Native History and culture of Southeast Michigan and beyond that has been untold. It was inaccessible due to the complexity of the many tribes, governments, states, and boundaries. The history was hidden and scattered everywhere due to time and the many changes of names of waterways, peoples and places. It is the result of 4 years of intense groundbreaking research that clarifies and reveals what happened here and in the Northwest Territory. Now available in one volume! Non-fiction 643 pages.
BWHL will be sharing excerpts from OTTISSIPPI with the readers each week. The book is available on Amazon.com/ottissippi.
It is available as an ebook with a searchable Table of Contents and in Print – paperback.
Explorers and Missionaries
“Before the Europeans arrived in the Americas, more than 500 tribes or collective groups of 22 million people inhabited what is now the United States” (Red Road, “365 Days of Walking the Red Road, Terri Jean 2002).
Many countries were coming to the Maritimes and along the East Coast, fishing and whaling at a very early date, including the Norsemen and many others.
In 1453, the trade routes from Western Europe to India and China were cut off by Sultan Mehmet II when he captured Constantinople. The European nations were searching for a new trade route to India and China and sent many explorers: French, English, and Spanish.
In 1520, Portuguese fishermen were drying cod for the trade.
In the early 1600s, ships from many nations were coming on a regular basis; the Basques, Biscaynes, Bretons, Portuguese, and English came for the fishing and whaling and capturing Indians for the slavery and fur trades. Trading ships came, and the East Coast experienced contact. White Men began pushing the indigenous people out of their happy and fertile homes.
At one time, the Europeans recognized that land could not be claimed as others already lived there. In 1493, during the Renaissance, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church stated that inhabited lands could be claimed in the name of God: “Imperialist Colonial European Nations were competing for wealth, power, and the control of resources around the Globe. Pope Nicolai allowed the subjugation of Indigenous peoples around the world. To take over and make them slaves, to use and profit by any means necessary to convert Aborigines of discovered Lands to Christianity” (Papal Bulls). Exploitation was often veiled by religious and political illusions.
The Anishinabe believe use of the land is a birth right to all human beings. For the Europeans, land could be owned and exploited for profit: this is basic to their system. “The Western World has limited truths, and cannot see what we see” (Anishinabe).
The French were the first to explore the interior to the Great Lakes. They became part of the Indian culture, marrying the indigenous women. The women were guides and interpreters for the fur traders. This also created a trading relationship with the Indian peoples. The women knew all the intricacies of Indian life and did much work to help their husband in his trade.
The Iroquois in New York were being squeezed from all sides.
White Rock was a prominent feature of the Michigan Thumb region; it was a huge limestone boulder in Lake Huron, three miles north of Forestville at White Rock Park on M-25. It is much smaller today due to theft and bombing. It was venerated by the Indians as a manitou and inscribed with petroglyphs – writings known as pictographs. At one time, it was large enough for six to eight sets of dancers.
“Because the Indian tribes gathered at the White Rock, so did the earliest explorers and trappers. The White Stone became the Eastern Boundary of the Treaty of the Northwest Territory in 1807
The great Indian village at the Detroit was called Teuchsa Grondie – Place of Many Beavers. The whole Strait was teeming with shallow waters in which beavers created their dams, backing up the waters, creating a haven for all wildlife. The backed-up waters also made the streams, rivers, brooks, and drains accessible to canoe traffic. The canoes needed only a few inches of draft in the shallow waters. As a result, canoe travel was very extensive.
Many French missionaries came to New France with a desire to teach the indigenous peoples their religion. While some were sincere and helpful, many were looking for riches and brought the evils of European dominance with them. It was a very dangerous undertaking; the Natives were not always friendly to the “Black Robes” and explorers. The force of nature in the wilderness and in water travel could be very dangerous.
The Europeans changed forever the Native Americans’ lives, introducing them to communicable disease, which they had no immunity against, remedy for, or knowledge of. Hundreds of thousands died from disease, creating much suffering for the people and wiping out whole villages. The loss of many great leaders was severely endured. The people consolidated into new groups and became even more mixed.
New ideas and technologies were introduced in the form of firearms, manufactured metal products, woven cloth, and alcoholic beverages. The Indians welcomed the French, married them, and loved them.
The Catholic Church had a monopoly of the missions to New France. The French Huguenots – Protestants – were refused entry to America. The Catholic religious leaders having much power with the French king and in the Americas. The Jesuits were the dominant political force in the New World.
The Indians knew all the trails and waterways – every inlet and stream, every Island, rock, and shoal. They were the guides, canoe men, carriers, interpreters, and traders.
The missionaries were eager to save the souls of the savages (Bald, Michigan in Four centuries). The missionaries followed the Indians in their migrations. There were great rivalries among the missionaries. The Catholic Priests, or Black Robes, were from many orders: the Sulpicians, the Recollects, and the Jesuits.
The first Norse explorer, Leif Ericsson, made the voyages to the East Coast in 1000 A.D., 500 years before Columbus. Leif was the son of Erick the Red of Iceland.
John Cabot, an Italian, visited in 1497 for cod, whaling, and fur. He claimed the region for England. There was contact and conflict.
New France was established from 1524 to 1763.
“In the mid 1500’s, the Iroquois, Huron Petun, and Neutrals inhabiting Southern Ontario numbered 65,000” (Rogers/Smith).
Cartier visited the St. Lawrence Valley in 1534 and 1535, searching for riches and the passage to Asia. The men in his party were dying of scurvy; the Natives gave them the cure of cedar leaves tea.
In 1600, King Henry IV of France awarded a fur trading monopoly to a group of French merchants. In 1604, he gave De Monts exclusive trading rights to bring 60 colonists a year to New France. He founded the first French colony in North America.
The Company of 100 Associates founded by Cardinal Ricelieu were to establish a French Empire in North America.
The governor over the colonies had almost absolute power, being accountable to the King of France. The intendant was over finance and justice, and he worked with the governor.
Cartier then went on to establish Quebec in 1608. He brought two nephews and had a fur monopoly. Fighting broke out between the French and English for control of the Canadian fur market between the Colonies. Champlain surrendered Quebec to England. This went on back and forth between France and England. From this small settlement, the French began to explore the Great Lakes region, establishing a cooperative relationship with the Algonquin’s and fur trading posts in North America.
In 1600, Chauvin and Dupont established a trading post at Tadoussac on the St. Lawrence River.
Father Le Caron, a Franciscan Recollect priest, and his 12 companions started a mission to the Hurons in Southern Ontario near Lake Huron in 1615.
Saint Marie among the Hurons was the first French outpost, near Midland Ontario. The head Jesuits were at Saint Marie, near the mouth of Wye River. The Huron were destroyed in 1649 by the Iroquois.
There was a Recollect Mission near Fort Gratiot (Port Huron, Michigan) or directly across from it. It was called Saint Marie. Bell’s History of Canada says it was an important one.
The Franciscan Order was a small group who were replaced by the Jesuit missionaries. The Recollects then served as parish priests and chaplains to the troops in Canada. The Sulpicians were also headquartered in Montreal, providing village priests and chaplains.
“Samuel De Champlain was the Governor of New France in 1603. De Champlain had already journeyed afar, when in 1603 he was sent to direct and stimulate the development of New France. Filled with religious zeal and enthusiasm, rare executive ability, and a keen vision of the requirements of the gigantic task before him, he discharged his difficult duties so faithfully and well that he was honored with the name Founder of New France” (Fowle).
When Champlain arrived with his 79 men, they knew nothing of the country; his men were starving and dying of scurvy. He lost 35 men before the Indians gave him the cure of cedar tea.
In 1603, Champlain was working with Dupont, his uncle. In 1605, Champlain established Port Royal in Nova Scotia.
“French documents in 1603 report Saulteaux Ojibwe and Missisauga villages on Harsens Island and the North Shore of Lake St. Clair. There was a steady presence from the 1640’s onwards” (Adapted from, Karen Jean Travers 2015, York University, Toronto, Canada).
In 1608, he founded Quebec City. The British destroyed Port Royal in 1613. This began the French settlement on the St. Lawrence.
In 1609, Champlain, with Algonquin allies and firearms, attacked the two Mohawk Iroquois chiefs on the Richlieu River; he was the first European to use firearms against Indians.
The French had been trading in the north above Montreal for many years before they explored the Southern Ontario lands. There had been many fights with the British, Dutch, and Iroquois. The Iroquois were being pushed West due to colonial New York expansion. The Upper St. Lawrence was in turmoil and was carried on to the Lower St. Lawrence; this pushed the French West, having been introduced to the Algonquins and Hurons through the trade network.
Father La Caron, a Franciscan friar, arrived in 1615, establishing a Recollect Catholic Mission.
“When Champlain entered the country of the Hurons near the Mission of Father La Caron, at the Towns of the Hurons called Carhagouna, he recognized this community as different from all the others he had come upon. The Hurons lived by agriculture rather than the chase and they hunted as well. He had come upon one of the most remarkable savage settlements on the continent. All about were cleared fields in which were raised Indian corn, squashes, pumpkins, and sunflowers. Here they had permanent homes, protected by high and strong Palisades” (Fowle).
“The Priest Sagard classed the Hurons as the Nobility, the Algonquin’s, the Burghers of the Forest, and the Montagnais, Mountain People, and the rabble of the woods” (Fowle). The Montagnais were from Newfoundland, which was North of Montreal.
The priests were pioneers and explorers, as well led the trading and commercial development.
The Jesuit Fathers in their volumes, “Relations”, give the most interesting and illuminating accounts of this Huron tribe.
They call themselves Attigonetans. Their principal hamlet was Cahiague.
The women wear their hair in a single braid, the men in various ways. Some shave all the head, leaving only some tufts of hair here and there, others half of the head; others allow their hair to grow very long which is the most common. Others leave it only in the middle, or on the forehead, straight as bristles. From this the first Frenchmen gave our Barbarians the name Hurens, because of the Hure, the straight locks they wore on the middle of the head. Hure in French signifies the bristles of the Wild Boar.
From Lower St. Lawrence, Champlain had followed a Waterway to Lake Huron which was the one-time outlet of Great Lake Nipissing, the immediate predecessor of the present Great Lakes. Now returning, he was following the outlet of a still more ancient lake, Glacial Lake Algonquin, belonging to a very old Epoch, before Lake Nipissing. This route was the outlet of this Great Glacial Lake. (Fowle)
In 1627, there were 100 French inhabitants. The Company of 100 Associates sent 400 colonists, who were sent back to France, because of the war with the English in the Upper St. Lawrence. In 1635, there were 200 French people in New France.
The (Niagara) Falls were called St. Louis. The Island of Orleans became Quebec in 1638.
“During the 40 years following the founding of Quebec, a dozen mission posts were built in the Huron Country, south of Georgian Bay. Explorers and Interpreters were to live among the Natives, make friendships, and gain confidence of them. Experience must teach them to learn the language and customs because they must live among them” (Fowle).
The turbulent Ottawa River led to Lake Huron from the St. Lawrence Valley. The Rapids along the Ottawa River were grueling, having 36 portages. This led to Lake Nipissing, the French River, Georgian Bay, and Lake Huron.
The Lower Peninsula of Michigan was unknown to the explorers, due to the hostility of the Iroquois to the French. The Iroquois controlled Lake Ontario and the route through Lake Erie and the Ottissippi (St. Clair River) to Lake Huron.
The only route open to explorers was pointed out by the friendly Huron.
Brule at age 16 was sent to live among the Indians to learn their language and culture and to explore and discover the Lake Country, and search for a route to the Pacific. In 1610, he was the first European to see Lakes Ontario, Huron, and Superior. Brule told the story of his explorations to Sagard, who reported to the Governor Champlain at Quebec. Brule betrayed Champlain by leading the English up the St. Lawrence River; he was charged with treason and other indiscretions. Brule was killed and eaten in 1632 by Hurons.
Native copper was transported from Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence. It was a great trade item used to make tools and many other items.
The first Jesuits arrived in 1611. In 1615, the Recollect Priests from Rouan, France sent missionaries to New France.
In 1618, Champlain, the French governor of New France, sent Jean Nicolet to live among the Algonquins as a boy, to learn all about them.
He found the Algonquins occupied Lake Huron and as far as Lake Superior. The Huron, the Nipissings in 1618, the Amikouai, the Oumisagia or Missisaga, the Pahuoitingwach Irini (People of the Falls – The Falls of St. Mary’s River), the Saulteaur. Of the Ojibwe around Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, were the Marameg – Catfish People, the Mikinac – Turtle People, and the Noquet – Bear People (Ancestors of the Ojibwa – Chippewa).
In 1634, he was sent by Champlain and the Company of 100 Associates of France as a spy to search for a passage to the Pacific, leading to China. Dressed in Chinese garb, he found only naked savages who were in large numbers at Green Bay and who had never seen a White man. They were very impressed by his colorful robe and his pistols, which he fired into the air. This man who carried “thunder” in both hands appeared as God. These were the Winnebago people who spoke Siouan. The Moniminee – Wild Rice People, were in Eastern Wisconsin.
His Native nickname was Achirra, meaning “Superman”. He was a spy, explorer, interpreter, and fur trade ambassador.
He did not reach the Pacific but went as far as Green Bay, Wisconsin, exploring the northern expanse of Lake Superior whereby the French learned more of the country. He died in 1642 in Quebec by drowning.
The Lower Peninsula of Michigan was not known for another 35 years. The Iroquois were very dangerous to passersby on the southern route. It was not explored.
“The Dutch raped and tortured. Setting an example for the Mohawks, they used scalped head as kick balls, European practices” (Metis History, www).
In 1625, the Jesuits began missionary work among the Indians. “The Jesuits impressed the Huron with technological superiority and superior knowledge, including predicting eclipses” (Rogers/Smith, 1995, Aboriginal Ontario).
Gabrial Sagard, of the Franciscan missionaries, lived with the Hurons. He recorded and reported to the Governor at Quebec the doings of the explorers and missions. His Histoire Du Canada was published in 1636.
“The Jesuit Order initiate the Cast System, by the color of the skin, religion or value system” (Metis History, info/metis.aspx, www).
In 1634, the Jesuits came among the Huron. The Huron were ravaged by smallpox in 1639; fully one half of their number died.
St. Joseph Mission, northwest of Lake Simcoe, had about 2,000 people. They were the first to be attacked by the Iroquois. The Iroquois took 700 prisoners.
In 1639, the Jesuits founded Sainte Marie among the Hurons. The Mission was burned in 1649. St. Joseph II and Saint Michel (mission), were near Hillsdale, Ontario, Southwest of Lake Simcoe.
“At the mouth of the Detroit River was a Jesuit Mission on Bois Blanc – Bob lo Island. A new Mission Station was made at La Pointe de Montreal, opposite Detroit” (Rogers/Smith, 1995, Aboriginal Ontario).
Brebeuf and Chaumont visited several Neutral villages in Southwest Ontario in 1640 and 1641.
“Father Isaac Jogues, and Charles Raymbault, went to Lake Superior and preached to the Chippewa. The Great Fishing Place of Whitefish, they named the place of the rapids, “Sault De Sainte Marie”. The Chippewa were called Saulteurs, because they frequented the Sault” (Michigan in Four Centuries, Bald). These men were martyred by the Iroquois at St. Ignace. The Iroquois continued raids on New France.
Menard was a missionary in the Georgian Bay Country in Southwest Ontario from 1640 until the destruction of the Hurons in 1649.
Father René Mendard was sent to find the Christian Hurons who had been displaced and some were at Chaquamenon Bay, Wisconsin with the other Algonquins, gathered there after the Iroquois had terrorized their territory in Southern Ontario and Michigan. He joined a party of Ottawas and was the first missionary among these people. He established the Mission of the Holy Spirit in 1660. On a missionary journey in Northern Wisconsin, he was lost and perished. His assistant Jean Guerin continued the Mission.
In 1663, the contract with the Company of 100 Associates was cancelled by the King. The fur trade then came under direct Royal control. This marked the end of monopoly control and the emergence of the Free Trader and the Coureur De Bois. The Company of 100 Associates surrendered their franchise in 1663.
In 1665, the first intendant, Marquis De Tracey, came to run the Colony as a representative of the King and Council of France. The population was then 3,215 French people. De Tracey was the Lt. General of all Canada and brought the first considerable body of French troops to New France.
Women were sent for to marry the men. Siegnor lands were rented to the inhabitants. The feudal system of France was brought across the ocean.
“Father Claude Allouez went through Michigan in 1665, to reestablish the Mission of the Holy Spirit at the West end of Lake Superior. Other missionaries soon followed. Allouez supplemented earlier reports of copper deposits and was the first to speak of a River, ‘Messipi’” (Fuller).
In 1669, Father Marquette was sent to Cheguamenon Bay. There he heard from the Illinois Algonquins about the Great Mississippi River that lead to the Gulf of Mexico. He determined to go to the savages along its banks and carry the gospel to them, when the Sioux Indians were to extract vengeance for the murder of several Sioux. The Hurons fled East to the Straits of Mackinaw. Father Marquette followed them Huron and Ottawa) back there (Michilimackinac), establishing the Mission of St. Ignace in 1671. He, with Dablon, had established the mission at Sault Ste. Marie. They were courteous and entertained traveling missionaries. However, they made it clear to Father Galinee and Dollier of the Sulpician Order that there was no place in the West for any other than the Jesuit missionaries.
Father Galinee wrote of the mission: they had accomplished little. Not one Indian was permitted to attend the Mass, which was only for the 25 to 30 Frenchmen there at the time.
Father Marquette was a great explorer, the oldest founder of Michigan. He was the discoverer of the Upper Mississippi and the first White navigator of the Great River.
Traders also settled here; it was the great jumping off place to the Northwest fur market. It also became the great trading center of the North Country.
Galinee, a priest, constructed a Mission in 1670 near the River on Lake Huron, sometimes called The River Lyon, where the village of Port Dover is now situated. In a small ravine, he built a cabin strong enough for the resistance against the savages. It was their home, their chapel, their storehouse, and their fortress.
Galinee describes their surroundings:
beautiful woods, where they gather stores of nuts, acorns; the luxurient vines loaded with excellent grapes, from which they made an abundance of wine. Clear swift streams, plentifully stocked with fish and beaver, the forests teeming with deer, moose, and bear. A hundred bucks were seen in a single band, and nearly as many does. The bears were fatter and more succulent, than the most, savory pigs of France. After the cabin was constructed, all hands labored to gather an abundance of food supplies for the winter.
Galinee describes the method of curing meat:
the mode of curing it in the woods, is to slice it very thin, and spread it on a gridiron, raised from the ground covered with small wooden branches on which you spread your meat. A fire is made beneath and the meat is dried in the fire until there is no moisture in it and it is as dry as a piece of wood. It is put up in packages of 30 to 40 lbs. rolled up in pieces of bark and thus wrapped up. It will keep 5 or 6 years without spoiling. When you wish it, you reduce it to powder between two stones and make a broth by boiling it with Indian corn.
Dollier, a priest with Galinee, in 1670 passed through the Detroit and, not far from the site of Detroit, destroyed a stone idol which the Indians made sacrifices of skins and food. When about to embark on the lake, now St. Clair, they broke a hatchet, in breaking the stone to pieces, and threw them into the River.
In 1674, a new office was established: a bishop would be Head of the Clergy in New France. Montmorency was the first.
Louis Hennepin – Father Hennepin – was a Belgian (Spanish Netherland), Franciscan Recollect. He was kicked out of the Catholic Church and forbidden to preach his book Description of Louisiana, which in 1683, had 46 editions. In his book A New Discovery, he records the ship “Griffon” sailing into the Detroit – The Strait.
He wrote, “the Country is stocked with stags, wild goats, and bears, which are good for food. Turkeys and swans are very common, and several other beasts, and bird’s unknown to us, but they are extremely relishing”.
Father Hennepin earned his place in history, for his exploration and as a historian.
In 1680, Hennepin was taken prisoner by the Sioux and carried up the Missouri. He and his two companions were rescued by, Dulhut, the Great Trader.
Hennepin wrote of the Great Lakes: “It were easy to build on the sides, of these Great Lakes, an infinite number of considerable towns, which might have communication one with another by, navigation for five hundred leagues together, and by an inconceivable commerce which would establish itself among Em.”
Adrien Joliet was the first White man known to visit the Lower Peninsula. Joliet – Sieur Pierre Joliet – was the first explorer to take the Detroit Route in 1670. He was a seasoned trader, sent to find the copper the Indians told about. Louis Joliet also came. The Ottawa River from Montreal was impractical, having 36 portages.
At the Sault Ste. Marie, Joliet spent the winter. An act of humanity furnished him with a solution. The Saulteurs were about to burn at the stake, an Iroquois prisoner, whom Joliet rescued. The Indian out of gratitude, gave him the secret to a direct route to the Land of his People. A fine waterway, without portage, or dangerous rapids, unknown to the French, an easy passage to Montreal. He offered to conduct Joliet over this route.
Down the Lake of the Hurons, to its outlet they proceeded. Down the beautiful river and across the placid Lake, through the Detroit – Strait, to Lake Erie. How charming the forest on either hand and silent, the former inhabitants driven away from their homes many years ago. Not a soul around, only the otter and beaver playing on the water, a deer drinking, the moose feeding at the water’s edge. The Kingfisher flitting overhead. The cacophony of myriad wild fowl, flying about. (Fowle)
“Joliet in 1674 reported to Governor Frontenac in Montreal that ‘A person can go from Lake Ontario, and Fort Frontenac, in a bark to the Gulf of Mexico. There being only one carrying place half way where Lake Ontario communicates with Lake Erie’. Joliet and Lasalle were sent to find a new route to carry Ore from the Upper Peninsula” (Fowle).
“Father Allouez arrived at Kachkachria, in 1677, on the Mississippi, (near Utica Ill), where there were 351 cabins of eight tribes. They lived on corn, 14 kinds of roots, 42 kinds of fruit, 25 types of fish, 40 kinds of game and birds, bison, turkey, wildcats and 22 other species of animals. They processed salt, had several wives. The Miami were reported as a consecrated people, since they had no canoes to travel and no contact with commerce to learn secrets” (Metis History, Canadian History a Distinct Viewpoint, info.pagesstudy.com, www).
“The ‘Griffon’ was built at the mouth of Cayuga Creek on Lake Erie, in 1677” (Metis History Timeline, Canadian History, a Distinct Viewpoint, info.metis.aspx, www). “Chevalier De La Salle, who sailed the famous Griffon through the Strait of the Detroit in 1680, was also known as Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur De. Lasalle.
“The first ship to sail the Upper Lakes (built by white men) with 45 tons burden about 60 feet long. A small vessel, but a marvel achievement. The Iroquois upon seeing her on this side of Niagra, exclaimed, Gannorum meaning ‘that is wonderful.
In 1679, thirty-four men, including two Recollects, sailed West with a favorable wind. Nothing unfavorable had occurred in Lake Erie, which had been described as full of dangerous rocks and sands which rendered navigation impracticable. They entered the Detroit – The Strait. Hennepin was charmed by the landscape, and wrote: this is ‘One of the finest prospects in the World! This Strait is finer, than that of Niagra, being 30 leagues long (90 miles), and everywhere one league broad, except in the middle, which is wider, forming the Lake we have called St. Claire.
In describing the country above Lake St. Clair, he said: “hills covered with vineyards; trees bearing good fruit, groves and forests so well bestowed, that one would think that Nature alone could not have made, without the help of art, so charming a prospect”.
They had a hard time finding the main channel to the river entering the flats above Lake St. Clair, but finally located it and sailed into the swifter water above. They encountered a swift headwind which compelled them to send men ashore and towed the ship into Lake Huron.
They entered Lake Huron and found the storm of Lake Huron severe and thought they were lost. La Salle recommended the men to make peace with their Creator. The captain openly cursed La Salle, “Who had brought them hither to perish in a nasty Lake, and lose the glory he had acquired by his long and happy navigations on the ocean”. They weathered the storm and found harbor on the point of St. Ignace, which Hennepin calls Missilmackinack.The Griffon was lost in the northern part of Lake Huron. On the return trip to Niagra, the men went back to Detroit by land in 1680, then crossed the Detroit River on a raft and proceeded to Niagra” (Fowle).
“In 1680 Lasalle came to Ville Detroit, New France, the Village at the Straits – Fort Detroit, after the Griffon sank in Lake Ontario in the storm” (Canadian History, A Distinct Viewpoint, Metis Timeline, info/metis.aspx, www).
“Sieur De Lasalle – Rene Robert Cavalier – was given a patent from the King Louis XIV – The Sun King, of France, for a monopoly of the Buffalo hide trading south of Montreal. Henri De Tonti was his Lieutenant. They built Fort St. Louis in 1683, at Starved Rock on the Mississippi River in Illiniwek Land.
“La Salle and Father Hennepin took possession of the West Louisiana Territory and the Northwest for France in 1682. In 1682, he followed the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico with 23 Frenchmen including his friend Tonti and 31 Indians. He (Lasalle) was killed by mutiny of his men in 1687 in Texas, after searching for months for the channel to the Gulf of Mexico.
“The French eliminated the middlemen when they moved to Michilimackinac, intercepting furs from the far North and West being traded to the Huron” (Rogers/Smith).
DULUTH – SIEUR GREYSELON DELUD
“Duluth, a French Soldier, spent 12 years exploring and trading, securing the Indians in the French interest. He was a Fur Trader on a large scale. A celebrated Scout, and Courier De Boise, companion of Joliet, and Commander at Michilimackinac. Duluth had an intimate relationship with the Indians of the Lake Region, his associations with them were most amicable for many years” (Utley, 1906).
He was so powerful, his services were sought by the successive governor, Lemoyne. He was wanted as Interpreter of the Colony at Montreal.
In 1685, Dulhut was relieved of the Post of Michilimackinac and asked to build a post at the foot of Lake Huron where he had to garrison and provision it at his own expense. This post, called St. Joseph, was established to prevent a junction of the English traders of the South with those of the Hudson Bay. Dulhut was successful in this object for the two years his post existed.
Duluth supervised the building of Fort St. Joseph for trading with the Indians of the area in 1686. La Honton burned the fort in 1688, fearing Iroquois invasion.
Duluth made peace between the Sioux Indians and their Michigan and Wisconsin Indian neighbors, opening trade to the West beyond Lake Superior.
Father Stephen De Carheil had been laboring among the Indians near the Detroit before 1687, but it was in 1702 that a Mission was established at Detroit itself.
“The French came to trade directly with us, we married them. All children born were of Metis – Mixed Blood. They were given the Totem of the Martin Clan, by Decree of our Spiritual Leaders. Our ancestors foresaw this Mix. We respected the choices of our women and provided for our children. The French built Fur Trading Posts and laid claim to the vast territory, continuing the booming Fur Trade” (Diba Jimooyung, Saginaw Chippewa).
Forts were trading places for skins and goods, not military soldiers.
“Fathers Brebeauf and Chaumont attempted a mission to the Huron’s in 1640 and 1641, but they abandoned it. The Hurons called them Demons.
The Neutrals refused the trade of the Black Robes, knowing the consequences and danger put to the country. The Echon were forced to withdraw. Echon was called ‘Agwa’, their greatest enemy, and was considered a great sorcerer who carried death and misfortune everywhere he went.
In Native culture, women were revered as equals; the Jesuits believed women were Evil Incarnate. The Huron women were warned they must obey their husbands. Women were blamed for all the evils and only the Jesuits were to be obeyed.
The Great Spirit was loved by the Indians; no one was in fear. They were slow to anger and tolerant of other’s opinions. There was no concept of the Devil or Hell. They loved freedom and independence; there was horror of restraint and bondage.” Metis History, www
In 1640, they built a Mission, St. Michael of Khioeta, on the Detroit. They built a second Mission, St. Francoise, on the shores of Lake Huron between Sarnia and Grand Bend. They brought European diseases and sickness among the people. Their teachings were very different from the Anishinabe and created great dissension among the tribe.
The women were not allowed to vote. Women’s values and dignity were changed to that of the Roman Church. Women were the chattel (property) of man, subordinate to man, every evil Church tradition. The Black Robes, they forced Baptism on the dead and dying children without the parents’ permission at times. Feasts were banished, medicine banned, ‘They forget how we saved the early French Colony’. Sharing was rejected by the Jesuits.
In the 1600’s the French targeted spiritual beliefs as the need to explore. They were tolerated for the most part. False religions of the Jesuits, beating babies and people. Native people consider it sorcery, perverted European practice, work of the Devil, or walk in darkness.
The Jesuits humiliated the Algonquin religious beliefs, calling it superstitious, they say our dance is paying homage to the Devil, possessed by the Devil and the drum is banned.
The Jesuits teach that faith is to Love God, work hard, suffer much, and consider oneself as very useless. They say to be a Christian is to give up all the Peoples medicine, that has been given to them by God. The same medical knowledge that saved the Early French Colony. (Metis History, www)
The Black Robes forbade any traditional rituals to be practiced; the converts were not allowed to fight alongside non-Christians, even against a common enemy. The converts were paid higher prices for furs and could buy muskets in 1641; this encouraged baptism.
Antisocial behavior, was seen as a form of witchcraft that threatened the well-being of the community, creating division and turmoil among the people.
Many refused baptism, believing their souls might join relatives who had died without baptism in the traditional Village of Souls. (Rogers/Smith)
Nuns in 2002 in Canada received 8 months in prison for doing the same, beating children. Indians never raised a hand to any child. Moral decay spread, dividing the nation against itself.
Lawsuits, ambition, avarice, lust, and the desire for revenge were rarely seen in New France, yet the people are called Savage and Barbarian.
The Mission Village of St. Joseph (Teanaustaye) was established.
The most easterly village was at “Round Point”, a bay also called French Aunce Bay, known as Kewaonon, near Detroit.
In 1663, John Eliot translated and published the Bible into Algonquin.
“The White man does not obey the Great Spirit, that is why the people could never agree with him” (Flying Hawk, Ogala Sioux).
“Manliness is demonstrated by abstaining from sex; this is self-control, and strength. It was common to abstain for two years after a child” (Metis History, Canadian History, a Distinct Viewpoint. www).
“In time, missionary power grew and fur trade posts saturated Anishinabe Country. The Black Coats’ intense effort divided the people, encouraging rejection of traditional teachings of the Mide Lodge” (Flocken UMN 2013).
“Traditional medicine extensively linked to spirituality failed against epidemics that continuously ravished the populations. Missionaries remained healthy, appearing to have a more powerful religion. Hunting success became depleted which was closely related with Spirits, hunting, and medical failure, and a newly impoverished society caused many to abandon Midewiwin and spirits and convert to Christianity” (Vecsey, 1983/Flocken UMN 2013).
“American missionaries failed because they wanted to change every aspect of Anishinabe society to reflect theirs” (Flocken).
“In the later 1600’s, we reclaimed our homeland in Southern Lower Michigan and Ontario. The Ontario Anihinabe were named Missisaugas – “River Indians”. Quebec included all of the Great Lakes. The Missisauga are “The Lakes People” (Diba Jimooyung, Saginaw Chippewa).
“The Huron Confederacy was one of the largest and most enlightened bodies of North American Indians. When first encountered by the French, they numbered about 16,000 and had villages between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. The Jesuit Mission of Huronia was destroyed, and the Hurons dispersed by the Iroquois War raids in 1648 to ‘49” (Lahonton).
“Jacques and Roymboult, Jesuits from the Huron villages at South Eastern Lake Huron, preached at the Sault in 1641” (Cleaver Bald, “Michigan in 4 Centuries”).
“Grossilliers, an explorer and fur trader, came in 1654. He and Radison worked together and took a huge amount of furs from the North Country to Montreal in 1669 without a license. They were imprisoned and their furs confiscated. Upon release, they made a trip to England and received the support of the King, and established the Hudson’s Bay Co. This gave them complete control over one-fourth of North America. An Empire, an Imperial Domain. The most gigantic monopoly in history. The French went to stop them” (Utley).
Radison was an explorer and fur trader who came to the Northwest and returned to Montreal in 1660.
“The Hudson’s Bay slave rolls had many ‘Hospital Boys’, raised in residential schools. The poor orphans, young, were used in the slavery trade. There was cruelty, bullying, and flogging” (Canadian History, A Distinct Viewpoint, Metis History Timeline – 1677, info.pagesstudy.com, www).
In 1657, the Sulpicians and Recollects were sent out to Canada with support of the King of France.
In 1664, copper was known to be at a Lake Superior island.
Father Peter Francis Xavier Charlevoix arrived in 1721 and stayed 12 days.
“The priests protested the Liquor Trade to no avail” (Jesuits Relations Volumes). The restrictions placed upon the sale of liquor to the Savage, which restrictions are by no means observed. When drunk, the Indians were quarrelsome and dangerous among themselves and the town. They gladly exchanged furs for trinkets, which they thought of enormous wealth. Thus, the Indian was cheated outrageously.
When it became known that there were such enormous profits, the authorities sought to control and restrict it by regulations, which diverted a part of the profit to the officers at the head of Affairs. A license was required to trade. The owners shared all the way down the line, and so the matter soon became little short of scandalous. Traders were forbid to engage in the traffic without a license under penalty of law.
“The Frenchmen found the Indian women were good partners. The Indian custom was to offer a woman as a gift to someone they wanted to be more than a casual friend. A number of Frenchmen had a traditional Christian wedding blessed by a priest. The Indian woman perceived herself as privileged when chosen for gift giving. Lack of guilt and a genuine desire to give a good friend a precious gift was a practice abhorrent to strict Christians” (Kah Wam Da Meh, Jean Frazier/ Herman E. Cameron, 1988).
“In 1756, Fort Detroit was on the d’Etroit (the strait), near Lake Huron” (Metis History, info/metis.aspx, www).
The Iroquois destroyed the Hurons and continued to wreak havoc into the Ohio and Michigan Algonquin tribes. They reached as far as the Sault Ste. Marie in 1662.
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Chapter 4 continues next week.
This book came about after a visit to the library where I could not find local Indian History. I grew up in the St. Clair and Black River area of Michigan, fishing on all the area waters with my father and brothers. I loved books, libraries, horses and puzzles; I was not a tech person. I love to cook, garden, travel, and camp. I was determined to find and share the truth. This has been a difficult journey in every way. I give you, the reader, the truth and blessings I also reaped. Cheryl Morgan
Cheryl Morgan lives near Port Huron, Michigan with her husband Tom and dog Fred.
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