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OTTISSIPPI Ch. 11, Part 2: Mounds and Treaties

By Cheryl Morgan


The Indian removal policy of Andrew Jackson and Lewis Cass, his secretary of war, was to remove all the Indians West of the Mississippi to the great desert. The land was inferior, the occupants mostly hostile. Many were forced to walk the “Trail of Tears” or “Trail of Death”, where many died along the route in winter. The policy was an extermination of the Indians. The tribes removed did not receive vaccine and were sent into country ablaze with smallpox in 1838.

The farmers who were neighbors of the Indians were friendly with them and did not wish to see them removed. This policy came from industry and capitalists with great influence in government.

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In Michigan, the Pottawatomi were forced to move, many on “The Trail of Death”, many fled to other places. In the 1830s and 1840s, thousands of refugee Indians from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota fled to Canada, some stayed on very small reserves in the western portion of Michigan.

The Ojibwe and Ottawa also fled and hid out with others. Some were being fired on as they fled to safety in Canada as British Loyalists. They went underground for a time, many moved back to their homelands.

Solemn treaties were the national honor, made with prayer and mention of God. They were promptly broken, arousing anger and contempt (C. Eastman, Soul of the Indian, www).

The 1836 Treaty of Washington by Henry R. Schoolcraft was signed by the Black River and Swan Creek chiefs and band leaders. It was signed at Washington. This treaty sold the reserved lands from the 1807 Treaty. The Indian chiefs and head chiefs were given the royal treatment, wined and dined.

It was signed by the following: Eton O Quot or Eshtonoquot – Clear Sky, Naygeezhig – Driving Clouds, Mayzin – Checkered, and Keewaygeezhig – Returning Sky.

The officials and witnesses present were Sam Humes Porter, Secretary; Stephen T. Mason, Governor of Michigan; Luscious Lyon; John Holiday; Joseph F. Maisac; and George Moran.

The Treaty of 1837 was for the rest of Michigan. The treaty concerned five-year tracts of land belonging to the Black River people, to trade the land for reservations West of the Mississippi. The removal process was to begin in five years. Abusive tactics were used to restrict and crush: “they made us poor, sick, and shut us up, even to sewing some women’s lips together. We never violated or broke our part of any agreement or treaties” (Ziibiwing).

The Ojibwe from Black River migrated to Lapeer County, Michigan, and the Isabella Reserve for the Saginaw. Some remained in Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and St. Clair Counties. Fifty-one went to Kansas; some merged with the Munsee Christian and the Cherokee. Some of the 51 returned to Michigan and Canada.

The 1838 Treaty was a revised version of the 1837 Treaty, to correct errors, in the 1837 Treaty, which was hopelessly flawed.

“We are destroying them off the face of the Earth, may God forgive our tyranny, avarice, ignorance, for it is very terrible to think of” (Schoolcraft 1851).

The better the land was cleared and cropped, the more envious the White settlers became. The finer the timber, the more impatient to possess it. The Indians were cheated, and they sold his timber and, many times, his land; both so unscrupulous were trader and settler (Mrs. Cass Mosher, Isabella County, MI Gen Web).

The Treaty of 1855 was a revised treaty to the Isabella Treaty, which was severely flawed. Lumber and railroad, politicians, and squatters had come in to defraud the people. Organized Christian civilization preyed upon the goodness of the Natives.

The Treaty of 1864 was also a revised Saginaw treaty.

The 1859 Treaty of Kansas was signed by Eshtonquit – Francis McCoonse, Edward McCoonse, William Turner, Antwine Gokey, Henry Donohue, Ignatius Caleb, and John Williams. These were the Black River and Swan Creek people who were part of the Delaware Munsee Christian tribe. This treaty was to settle prior treaty agreements and settle the bands in Kansas (OKU, Indian Affairs, www).

The Ojibwe-Chippewa signed 85 treaties from 1701 to 1867, with various governmental bodies, including 1 with France, 28 with Great Britain, 11 with Canada, and 45 with the United States. Due to distinctly different cultures, it would be another generation before the Ojibwa fully realized that they had not just granted Whites permission to use their lands, but also the right to ownership over it, a concept outside of their known language and historical and cultural understanding (Charles Rivers, History and Culture of the Chippewa).

In 1834, there were 5,347 Chippewa in Michigan in the census, half of whom were near Saginaw.

“All promises and treaties were broken; the boundary lines were never respected or enforced.

We made Wampom belts of shells as a visual reminder of an agreement; it was binding on both parties.

The Anishinabegs highest authority is Gitchi Manido, the Great Spirit, the Creator. Thus, filling the pipe was a solemn act, sealing and binding an agreement before the Creator.

Treaties recognized ownership. In making treaties, we never gave up the right to govern our own people or to worship the Creator as we had for centuries. We reserved the right to hunt and fish, trap, and harvest plants and medicinal food and other resources” Diba Jimooyung, (Ziibiwing).

Charles Eastman said, “We never had anything to count; we valued nothing except having that which cannot be purchased”. Never was more ruthless fraud and graft practiced upon a defenseless people by politicians, never more worthless scraps of paper, anywhere in the world than many of the treaties and government documents. They robbed and bullied with troops to suppress them. Wrongs unbelievable of common decency.

Nicholas Plain at Sarnia Reserve: Wampum and the calumet pipe of peace are used in council assemblies as the Bible is used in taking an oath.

Red Cloud: “Which God is our brother praying to now? The same God they have twice deceived when they broke the treaties with us?”


“Jacob Smith has been a useful man in this quarter,” Governor Cass wrote. He was a fur trader, interpreter, friend, negotiator, militia, and scout who served the U.S. government in special missions, sometimes the confidential eyes and ears of Cass on the Frontier. Cass wrote, “without Smith, the presence of the Chippewa chiefs could not have been procured in the 1817 Treaty”. He was the key figure, “smart as steel”. He was influential and controversial and died in obscurity. Smith had advocated a large reserve along the Saginaw and Flint Rivers for Indians from all over the U.S., having self-sufficiency and respect away from negative influence and effects of the White Man.

He redeemed three children taken as captives during the War of 1812. He was translator, courier, and confidential agent among the Saginaw and Ottawa, a spy, scout, and agent of influence. Being in the Fur Trade was excellent for intelligence operatives; they spoke the language and moved freely where no Whites could or would go. He was friend and advisor to the Indians.

He was Lieutenant and Captain of the Michigan militia when Detroit came back into American hands in 1813. He was bold and fearless, warmhearted and generous. He was arrested for helping the Americans when Britain held the Eastern Michigan lands. He had many lawsuits resulting from careless business practices and unpaid debts.

He was a German who came from Quebec. He was born in 1773, slight, strong, and agile. He came to Detroit around 1800. His home was on what is now Woodward Avenue in Detroit, the Wharf’s Trail. He had a White family in Detroit.

His Indian wife was Now Wa Be She Koo Qua, who lived at the Huron – Clinton River, called the Upper Huron, “The River Aux Huron”, of Lake St. Clair (now Mount Clemons). One of the leaders of this band was “the Wing”, Ningweegon, who was friendly to Governor Hull. Smith married Chief Neome’s daughter. He had a daughter, Nancy, with his Ojibwe wife. Smith and Chief Neome were as brothers, united in perfect harmony and unity, best friends unto death.

Smith became an Indian farmer, teaching the Indians to farm the American way.

Smith worked in powerful, quiet ways; he was a force for change. He advised the Indians to accept the land cessions to the U.S. This allowed settlers to move into Michigan without attack and confrontation. This promoted American debt and credit for goods they wanted and needed. It also led to more land cessions and saw the passing of the warriors, hunters, and traders.

 For the above paragraphs on Jacob Smith, the book; The Daring Trader: Jacob Smith in the Michigan Territory 1802 – 1825, by Kim Crawford, 2012, Michigan State University Press, was a reference. 

The Treaty of Washington in 1836 ceded 13 million acres of the remaining Lower Peninsula and half of the Upper Peninsula, the U.S. senate adding that the Indians were to remove within five years West of the Mississippi.

In 1836, the Black River, and Swan Creek, and Saginaw Chippewa bands ceded the four reserves from the 1807 Treaty.

In 1837, on Mackinac Island, the Indians reluctantly signed this Treaty of Washington but utterly refused to leave their Michigan reserves. The Augres and Rifle River reserves were kept by the Chippewa. The Ojibwe continued to live on their reserves and throughout the ceded territory. During the five-year period, the government surveyed and sold the Indian reserves, and their lands were encroached by timber thieves. They were then refugees in their own land and without government protection. (Cleland)

Michigan Indian Affairs were a huge mess. The government effort to remove the Indians was a failure. By 1842, the Indians having no reserves, many had moved to Canada and other places near relatives. A new treaty in 1855 and 1864 created the Isabella Reservation West of Saginaw. 

In 1837 and 1838, 75% of the Plains people died, the military massacring all, many were killed trying to flee into Canada. When it was discovered that there was gold in the hills of the West, the White men went crazy to find it, exterminating any who were in the path of progress.

The treaties made between the U.S. government, a sovereign nation, and various Indian nations who were sovereign, are still in existence today, and their existence as legal entities have been tested in courts and affirmed as laws with supremacy over state laws. The treaties affecting Michigan Indian tribes have never been abrogated and are as valid today as when they were written.

The special relationship existing between the federal government and Indian tribes is the result of agreements arrived at and are recognition not of Indian need, but of Indian rights as a sovereign people (Joyce Reid, Treaties affecting Michigan Indian Tribes).

There are many Indian tribes in Michigan today. There are thousands in the U.S.A. and in Canada. They are a sub-culture most Americans know little about.

In 1887, the Dawes Act effectively caused American Indians to lose 90 million acres of reservation land.


Historic trauma perpetuates self-oppression. Unresolved anguish felt by individuals, families, and communities in reaction to injustice, such as genocide, disease, land loss, language loss, religious indoctrination, negatively accumulate and is transmitted from generation to generation, compounding the distress (Brave Heart and De Bruyn 1998).

It is impossible to overstate the magnitude of human injustice perpetuated against Indian people in denial of their right to exist on their aboriginal land base as self-determined peoples.

Decolonization is the process of liberation from the state of oppression, reclaiming true freedoms – the freedoms of language, history, values, spiritual systems. These retain identity and rebuild self-esteem and so does the family, community, and nation.

A consensus government with a spiritual value based, egalitarian leadership.

Top Down does not empower the people, a handful holding all power over the people and the top-down system that supports it. Once you start dictating, you are not leading anymore.

Pulling communities together is essential for building healthy communities. When you empower people, for so long downtrodden by Western Colonialism, a whole new energy comes out. They start to see light at the end of the tunnel, respecting people and treating them as family, thanking and worshipping the Creator.

The spiritual component is central to our government – that is the life force. Without it, we self-destruct. We are one with everything. We are connected to all creation; that is who we are (Flocken, UMN 2013).

Democracy and freedom are Native American Indian ideals (Canadian Indian History, www).

The Plains Indians were deprived of their main source of sustenance. The buffalo were all killed, and the people left to wander and steal to avoid starvation. This then caused the military to begin open hostilities. The Gold Rush was the death of many Indian peoples. If they were in the way of progress, they were exterminated. The wars were caused by the aggression of lawless White men. Death by starvation and drunken orgies were the order of the day.

The White people moved into their lands and then expected the federal government to make a new treaty whereby the Indians would relinquish what the White men had no legal right to possess. Many times, the Indians did not receive what was promised in the treaties, or waited many years to see any of it fulfilled. Schools were not built as promised, agricultural assistance did not come, and liquor was not excluded. Indians and their agents were powerless, without redress against the federal government, and the corrupt traders. Indian rings (theft and every evil vise) were everywhere; monopolies of supplies being in remote places, there was no surveillance. The abuses were legion; all but a few, were corrupt and those few were taken care of in many ways. The tribes were vanishing.

Simplicity and fairness cost him his country and his freedom, even extinction as a separate and peculiar people (C. Eastman the Indian Today).

“Noble deeds of man are performed for the good of others. How blasphemous; you give us rum by the thousand barrels, before the presence of God, and charge him as the murderer of the unfortunate Indians. Our fields were coveted, our land. You force us to poor lands we must sell to sustain ourselves; there is no food and no game. We are forced to take cattle, causing war and bloodshed. The dirge of once free and powerful sons of America. The dying fires of his race lie scattered, and the graves of his ancestors desecrated” (George Copeway).

The Indians in acts of kindness were always accommodating, truthful, honest, and punctual to every promise. They helped raise many log homes for the settlers and helped during illness. Also, how Whites used (their) kindness (Frazier/Cameron, Kahwamdameh).

One god man is a lighthouse in a storm to warn and guide the rest (George Copeway).

Pre-contact population of the Native Americans was in the millions. By 1900, 250,000 remained. The tide of White settlers was unstoppable.

At Cahokia, east of St. Louis, Missouri in East St. Louis, Indiana, was a very large magnificent walled city, a 4,000 acre, complex. There lived 30,000 people. There are 120 mounds here. The largest, Monks Mound, is nine stories high. Soils from hundreds of miles away were layered throughout in blue, red, white, black, grey, brown, and orange. This was a huge trading place on the Mississippi. There were town squares and a woodhenge that told the time by the shadow of the sun – a town clock. 

Some wanted to spread lies to cover atrocities used to steal riches and land, saying the land was an empty wasteland occupied by a handful of ignorant poor farmers, who were backward and evil. The history and land did not have enormous gaps waiting to be filled by foreigners. It was a complete society that made sense.

The facts are that the Americas were occupied by millions of people who had achieved technological development, similar to contemporaries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They had excelled in many specific areas. They did have weaknesses like trust, honesty, and kindness that were used to abuse and steal their land, life, and all.

(Adapted from, BC OPEN TEXTBOOKS, opentexcbc.ca, Canadian History, Preconfederacion/Ch. 5-1. Ch. 2 Aboriginal Canada before contact, summary 2.6, John Douglas Belshaw)


“His land was taken from him, his people all but destroyed by ingenious genocides. The reality of Indian life was cast into romantic myth, lies to cover deceit, they vanished comparatively rapidly” (Steiner).

The State (of Michigan was Indian central. In the midst, of the great trade routes between the whole of North America, the Southern Lower half being the most heavily populated (Wm. Hindsdale, UOM, 1931, The Archaeological Atlas of Michigan).

In the Atlas, many sites have been recorded (not the exact locations to protect them), and many more are not recorded. There are 748 village sites, busy centers of aboriginal life accurately made out. Camps and villages were usually surrounded with palisades. There are 265 burial sites known with accuracy in 1931 (Hindsdale). Many more have been identified since then and are yet being found.

There are very extensive corn fields and tool factories. Indian pits or cache pits are so numerous they are not indicated on maps. Pit holes were dug into the ground in dry places. The commonest type of Earthwork in MI. They were 2 – 7 feet deep, the top round and four to eight feet in diameter. Some were very close together.

In the Great Lakes range, there were 1,828 sites in the state, most were in Lower Michigan, 1,707. In Southeast Michigan, there were 819 sites. This is the largest concentration of sites in the state. The Saginaw Valley was a very large concentration of sites, the Clinton River (Huron), also. These two areas were the centers of the greatest mound burial constructions. The largest mounds were on the Grand River and in Wayne County near Detroit.

Interments were at various depths, some below ground, some at ground level, and some above ground level.

Trails and great roadways hundreds of miles in length extended across the country. Our highways and bridges are the same thoroughfares followed by Indians in their transport. The best routes and crossings. A large network over the entire country. One is a 2,000-mile thoroughfare from Montreal to the Mississippi. The great Sauk Trail or Chicago Trail connected to it from Ohio and Detroit to the Mississippi. U.S. 112 follows this route.

The waterways were the places of a great many villages and camps on lakes and navigable rivers and streams (Hindsdale, UOM, 1931).

An abundance of Indian life was left in the soil almost everywhere it was dug up. In the Upper Peninsula, there were hundreds of copper mines, and copper was used in many ways. Some of the Indians spent the summer in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There were ancient mining pits where 10 cartloads of ancient hammers were taken, one weighing 39.5 pounds, having a double handle. There were hundreds of mines, tools, wedges, scaffolding, baskets were everywhere (C. Moore, History of Michigan).

Henry Gillman, in the Smithsonian Report of 1873, declared the Draper Site and mounds in the area as the most interesting archeological find in the state, and some of the best finds were taken from these groups of mounds. There are numerous mounds along streams and lakeshores. Draper Site is near the Blue Water Bridge at Port Huron, Michigan.

The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnohistory made a report saying there are numerous mounds at the head of the St. Clair River at the foot of Lake Huron. They continue for one and a half miles northward along Lake Huron.

On the west bank of the Black River, there is a great battle mound.

The mound on Water Street, across from the federal building, was a large mound which was used for a very long time and through the 1800s for burials. There were intervals like gates between the mounds. Fires were built within, and the mounds were used as fortifications and hiding places.

Many mounds were terraced on hills near the waterways.

The mound on Water Street near Rural and Tayler Street, Port Huron, had a large number, of human bones, pottery, implements of great length, and a grave lined with pottery which had never been observed before.

In Port Huron at the foot of Griswold Street, there was a burial mound. Another burial site in Port Huron was to the south end. This was originally an old Indian burial ground, north of Dove Street, west of 24th Street, and east of 16th Street, south of Cleveland. West of 32nd Street, farming was done across the tracks.

Most of the bones have been moved to the cemetery at Sarnia Reserve.

On Harsens Island was a burial mound at the south end.

At St. Clair on the Pine River was an Indian cemetery.

The mound builders left innumerable tumuli near the river and lakes. Most are conical or oblong with some cruciform, others resemble birds and animals. The ones on the heights at bends in the river or foot of the lake were perhaps for defense.

St. Clair County was one of the Pagigendamowinaki – “Great Cemeteries” – of the Aborigines. Along the rivers and their tributary creeks, many mounds were found. The number of mounds and character of human remains found in them point out the district as the Necropolis of an extinct race. Stone hatchets, flint arrow heads, unnumbered skeletons. The more valued relics have been here deposited in unusual abundance, greenstone or diorite, seonite, shale, and chert (Andreas).

Much copper was found within tumuli that tells of a civilized and flourishing colony within St. Clair County. Many mounds and garden beds are found in St. Clair County.

The fossils of prehistoric animals have been unearthed from end to end of the county.

The county abounds in these antiquarian puzzles. As late as the 1850s, hundreds of Chippewa and visiting Menominee fared sumptuously on the wild rice and game of the region.

Many mounds have been destroyed, and large amounts of valuable relics have fallen into ignorant hands and have been lost forever.

The great progress of achievement and mighty achievements of industry. All this has been accomplished over ten thousand graves (Andreas).


 The thumb was the great gathering place and was thoroughly littered with artifacts of native occupation. All around the thumb there were roads and trails throughout, as was the whole country.

The West Shores of Lake Huron were called Sanguenaum.

The Saginaw Watershed, O Sagenon or Sag inawe meaning to flow out, contains 175 inland lakes about 7,000 miles of rivers and streams. It is Americas largest freshwater coastal wetland system! It is like a large web reaching in all directions. Restoration of the Degraded – polluted, environmental conditions, is progressing. 

The whole area was called Saginaw it was the great drainage or outlet of half of the state, a rich fishing and hunting place. Sturgeon were thick and lay their eggs all about the waters of Lake Huron and the Ottissippi – the strait. Coal, flint, grindstones, pipestone and lead were all found here. A wealthy and much coveted area.


White Rock is in Lake Huron, near Forestville, Michigan. It has been nearly destroyed by bombing. It was once a very large rock, clearly seen in the Lake. It was on maps as a landmark in the Northwest Territory. It had been used for eons as a meeting place and trading place. What’s left of it is three miles north of Forestville and south of Harbor Beach, Michigan. In Sherman Township, it is the Southeast corner of Huron County.

A town was made at White Rock, called White Rock; it was destroyed by fire in 1881. The 1881 fire traveled from Central Michigan to Lake Huron in one day, 125 miles, the wind was ferocious a Great Inferno.

 In Holbrook, the people stayed in the Cass River and kept wet blankets over their heads for many hours. Sandy Cleland buried his money for safety from the fire in the dirt floor of his cabin. When he dug it up he found ashes, the fire had been so hot. (Lynn Spencer)

There are many mounds and burial places in the thumb. There were stone quarries, tool factories and workshops for making weapons, towns and villages. There were Workshops and Factories, Sugar Camps where large Industrial Complexes in Manufacturing occurred. The Ojibwe were master Canoe builders and handlers. 

The Thumb of Michigan was thoroughly littered with tools and arrowheads. New finds are constantly made. Truckloads of artifacts have been collected. A pond was filled with artifacts. Many sites are kept secret to protect them from destruction and theft (Joyce Reid, Deckerville, MI, papers). Where there are now towns and villages were the places of the Indian sites and villages. Most parks, government buildings, schools, and cemeteries were once Indian sites.

Frankenmuth, and Birch Run, and Chesaning, Bridgeport, Copeniconing, were Indian villages. Bay City is literally built upon Indian sites and mounds. The Saginaw Watershed was Indian country. Huron County is also rich in Indian sites: Sebewaing, Bayport, Port Austin, Point Aux Barques Harbor Beach, and other points.

Villages and camps were usually surrounded with palisades, tall walls, many times double walls, and a few with three walls.

Koylton Highland Pass is the high point in the center of Michigan’s Thumb, the place of the ancient Indian Highland Pass Township at the top of the mound (Juanita Rock).

The Indian fields near Caro, Michigan were Native farm lands; large crops of Indian corn, squash, beans, and potatoes were grown here.

A glacial ridge called Hadley Hills runs from Oakland County into the Southwest of the Thumb through the center to the Northeast.

In Lapeer County, Hadley Township, Pinnacle Point is 1,262 feet above sea level. In Metamora Township is, Mt. Christie at 1,251 feet. In Tuscola County, Fremont Township, a point near Mayville is 1,050 feet above sea level. Petroglyphs Park in Greenleaf Township in Sanilac County, near Cass City, has a 751-foot in southwest Sanilac County is a train of glacial deposited boulders known as, “The Indian Wall”, part of the wall can be seen from M-53 south of Cass City Rd. in Greenleaf Twp.

At the Holcomb site in the Thumb, caribou bones were found.

The Saginaw drainage area is a very heavily populated area of history and mounds, as is the center of the Thumb around the petroglyphs.


Petroglyph Park in Sanilac County is the only place in Michigan with rock carvings from Indian culture. The Cass River runs through the area, formerly the Huron River. The Black River – Huron, is also nearby, an easy portage by canoe. The highland of the Thumb along the Cass River.

It is a historic ceremonial site. The area could be easily reached from all directions, being between the Saginaw Bay Watershed on the West and The Lake Huron – Karegnondi, Black River, Huron River, and St. Clair River – Ottissippi (Clear Water) to the East. The grand thoroughfare of commerce.

The historic petroglyphs are a special place, sacred place to the Native Americans. Great meetings and ceremonies were held here.

Cass River passes through a thickly populated Indian district east of Saginaw into the Thumb. The Flint River nearly parallels the Cass River into the Thumb and was used extensively in Indian commerce. Many archaeologists have explored the area; the most well-known are James Fitting, Charles Cleland, and William Hindsdale.

The area is thin soil layered over rocky places, the Cass River having a bedrock bottom.

The high Land of the Thumb along the Cass River was the place of the great meetings of the main chiefs of the tribes, east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio River. It is thought that once every 5 years a great meeting was held here. At the time of the great meeting of the tribes, (a super council meeting), a stone carving was made to commemorate the meeting. The large rock of Marshall Sandstone has 93 aboriginal figures, this would record meetings as far back and 1150 A.D., for about 450 years. As time went by, the older figures would be reamed out to match the newer ones. This explains why the figures were all the same depth. A council circle was nearby. (Dr. Moor/Adapted from History of Petroglyph Park, Lynn Spencer)

The Historic Petroglyphs are a Special Place, a sacred place to the Native Americans. Great Meetings and Ceremonies were held here. It is a place of strong spiritual strength and healing. The Large Rock is called Grandfather by the Anishinabe. Plants with great healing properties are collected here.

There are outlines and figures of men, animals, hand and feet prints, birds, mythical creatures, spirals, cup shapes, animal tracks, clublike glyphs, and rakelike figures. The famous “Bowman”, and the, Water Panther or “Great underground wildcat”, called “Gitchi-a-nah-mi-e-be-zhew”, the spirit ruler of the seasons, having a huge tail.

The Longtailed Copper Bear, is a mythological creation of the Chippewas having a tail of copper. (Schoolcraft/Brown, 1941/The Sanilac Petroglyphs, Richards, Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1958)

Today the Petroglyphs site has a large covered Pavilion made in a round form with a high roof to protect the soft stone carvings and accommodate visitors, for meetings and ceremonial culture. There is a parking area with a path to the Petroglyph site.

Ira Butterfield who documented the area for 30 years and Mark Papworth did much valuable research around the Petroglyphs area. 

The Indians living on the reservation at Caro, MI, came to the area to pick and dry berries, and gather Ossier Willow for basket making. (Lynn Spencer) 

Ottawa families from, “Indianfields”, near Caro MI, came each autumn to trap and gather ginsing roots. (The Sanilac Petroglyphs, Hatt, Cranbrook Institute of Science, 1958/Port Sanilac Museum)

The Holbrook area was named after Mrs. Holbrooks family. She had a trading post on the Cass River from 1836. A Chippewa Indian village was downriver from her. (Spencer)

Before the Fires of 1871 and 1881 in the Thumb. The lumbermen were very wasteful and there was debris, tree tops, bark, stumps everywhere. It was as a very dry and hot summer, grass was parched and ground cracked, it was very windy. Gale winds caused controlled burns to become out of control, the fires started in Lapeer. They were fast moving, going in all directions, in Tuscola and Sanilac, were whirlwinds, the sky turned red, the smoke causing total darkness, blowing balls of fire and huge clouds of smoke, a terrible noise like mighty waters, and tornadoes. People went into wells, dug trenches, went to green corn fields and buried their heads, and ran for water.

In Holbrook, the people stayed in the Cass River and kept wet blankets over their heads for many hours.

 Many people moved away after the fires, Indians going in canoes to relatives and Whites moving away. This is where the Red Cross began, the Country wanting to help the homeless who had lost everything. 

The Hopewell Complex, centered in South Central Ohio, was the great meeting place with an extensive reach throughout America. Called the Hopewell Interaction Sphere, Chilicothe is the main area of meetings and great mounds culture. The Hopewell Complex was very extensive, reaching into Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana.

Fort Ancient was in South Ohio, with Cincinnati as the epicenter. The Shawnee and Miami people were driven from these lands.

The New York Hopewell is part of the Ohio Group reaching North to the St. Lawrence Seaway and South into Pennsylvania to meet the Ohio Hopewell. All part of the Hopewell exchange system, Hopewell trading networks were quite extensive, from as far as Yellowstone in now Wyoming to the Gulf Coast.

The Point Peninsula Complex was a large area, including Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe in Ontario, and far into the Northeast, North of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Part of the Hopewell Group, a serpent mound is at Rice Lake in Ontario near Toronto, the Lower Trent River area.

The many mounds along Lake Huron and in Port Huron along the St. Clair River are believed to be part of these ancient cultures. The Couture Complex was an area covering Southeast Michigan and Northern Ohio, all part of the Hopewell Complex at an early date.

The area of land is called Royce Area 66. These are area maps showing original Indian land cessions in the United States Map Number. This area corresponds with the Treaty of 1807, Land Area of Southeast Michigan.

Lower Michigan was part of the young culture from 1400 to 1600. The Huron Petun in Ontario were also part of the young culture.

The Saugeen Complex is the name for the later inhabitants of Algonquin descent, inhabiting Southwest Ontario and Eastern Michigan.

Southwest Michigan into Indiana and reaching North to Saginaw Bay was part of the Goodall Focus Group.

The pottery found in Lower Michigan into Ontario was part of the Western Basin tradition peoples (Travers 2015 Dissertation, York University, Toronto, Canada).

Garden beds are found, having low earth ridges 18 inches in height. Some are artistic in design, some have a wheel shape and resembled beds in formal gardens, peculiar to Michigan.

Next week Cheryl will continue this interesting journey through Native history in part 3 of chapter 11, Mounds and Treaties cont.



Andreas. History of St. Clair County, Michigan. University of Michigan, 1884. Quod.lib.umich.edu

Armstrong, Virginia Irving. I Have Spoken: Indian Oratory. Swallow Press, 1971. ISBN – 10: 0804005303, 13: 978-0804005302

Askin, John. Papers Vol. 1, 1747-1795, 1928; Vol. 2, 1796-1820, 1931, includes Father Dennison, Biographies of Early Detroit and Canada. Milo Quaife/Burton Historical Collection.

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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.

Don’t forget to “like ” us on Facebook!

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