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OTTISSIPPI Ch. 13, part 4: Indian Culture And Lifeways cont.

By Cheryl Morgan


Women were the head of the household and made everyday decisions. She was the boss of the home for internal daily leadership. Women serve as Mideiwikwe (female ceremonial leaders), and Ogichidoakwe (Medicine women), as warriors – protectors and chiefs. 

Women are gifted with the power of creation to bring children into the world. This is the greatest power in the universe. 

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Some girls were married at 13 years old, and ceremonies and customs varied widely. Sometimes the parents chose the spouse, sometimes the woman did. If a woman wants a divorce, she sets his belongings outside the door. He is divorced – that simple.   

Women wore loose-fitting dresses and skirts reaching the knees, of soft cured deerskin, fringed or painted to decorate them. The women wore leggings in cold weather and their moccasins were decorated with dyed porcupine quills. Necklaces and earrings of shell or beads and copper amulets were worn for decoration. 

The women tended the fires, the family center. Every woman knew which plants, roots, or other medicinal elements were needed for medicine, whether for snake bite or injury. Their work was endless: sewing, cooking, preserving foods, tanning hides, gardening, weaving, milling; women served many roles. The women were the gardeners, working the soil, planting, gathering, keeping their seed. 

Fields were burned to kill insects and weed seeds and for encouraging new growth of plants for gathering medicinal resources. A feast was made to ask the Great Spirit to bless the gardens. The gardens were never watered. A straw scarecrow helped keep pests away. The wild pigeons came by the thousands, fertilizing the ground, and were caught in long nets for delicious meals (Densmore). 

The totem clans were matrilineal, through the mother’s line and totem. Bands were separated by the woman’s totem. After the White customs came, it was changed to the male totem being the dominate clan family.

The women were the leaders and decision maker. Though men were the chiefs who carried out their wishes. The sign for woman is to sweep your hands down both sides of your hair.  

The women often built the home they would live in (Joyce Reid). Women had a separate living area they went to during their monthly cycle; no one, was allowed to be with them during this time, but food was brought to the abode. 

“The position of women is the test of civilization. Our women were secure. All property was held by the woman. Modesty was her chief adornment. She ruled undisputed within her own domain, a tower of moral and spiritual strength. She created a happy home. There was nothing artificial about her person; she had a strength and poise not to be overcome by any ordinary misfortune. Young women were usually silent and retiring” (Eastman).



Babies were strapped to a cradle board – tickenagun. This was an ingenious item with soft (sterile) moss, the fuzz of cattails placed around them for warmth and diapering. They were made with soft deer skin or birch bark, there was a catch drawer at the bottom to empty the soiled moss. It had a band across the top to hang some interesting items for play and protective covering. There was a leather strap at the back where mom could carry the baby on her back. The strap was handy to hang on a low branch, nearby a work area and the baby lulled by a gentle breeze. It was also stood up for the baby to see. Babies were frequently unwrapped and moved around freely. Children were coddled and dearly loved. The cradle boards were often very decorative. 

The mothers make use of a certain little boards stuffed with cotton upon which the children lye as if their back were glued to them, being swaddled in linen and kept on with swathbands run through the sides of the boards. To these boards, they hang their children upon branches of trees when they are about anything in the Woods (Lahonton).

When the child grew, they could stand in the cradle board. In cold weather, the babie’s feet were wrapped in a rabbit skin fur inside of soft down of cattails placed around them. The cradle board was warm and protective. 

It was placed horizontally across the waist with a shawl for travel. It could be rocked with the feet, as a hammock or a swing. The mothers sing lullaby. A duck bone or bill with maple sugar was used to keep it quiet. 

A cap of leather was used to protect the baby’s head and eyes, a bill used for shade. Diapering materials were of absorbent dried moss (sterile), cattail down, and rabbit fur skins. The babes were greased and sooted, wrapt in beaver skin (Schoolcraft).

Breastfeeding for three or four years was proper. The world average is 4.2 years. 

Children were cared for by the whole village. They were received as a gift to the people with much ceremony, festivities, and feasting.  

Childbirth was viewed as very natural, and the women were physically fit. Most women gave birth without help, there were mid-wives who assisted women in their birthing.  

Children were never hit or spanked; the good behaviors were encouraged and rewarded. Foolish behaviors were usually ignored until the child grew to understand and was taught to behave properly. Childhood was a time to play and explore. Though older children did help with any chores that needed help doing. 

Francis Dunsmore wrote in “Ojibwe Culture” that playthings and toys were for the children: stuffed birds, stringing berries, miniature snowshoes, bows, musical instruments, songs, races, sand drawings, wood drawings, stories, clay animals, dolls of grass, willow needles, single hollyhock and cloth dolls stuffed with moss, sticks, marbles, stones, and playing “camp”, “build a wigwam or fire”, or fishing. 

Rib bones with a cross-stick were bound tightly together like a cutter, they were lined with buffalo hide; the people coasted standing erect with a lariat tied to the curved end. Narrow ones were used as skis with a pole to balance. They sped like lightning downhills. Other skis were made of basswood or elm bark.

A kind of skate was made of bones and tusks in the very old days of peculiar workmanship. The young ones rode a tame buffalo calf or a big dog. Birds were taught to talk. They played field hockey, water lacrosse, or canoe ball (C. Eastman, “Indian Boyhood”). They also played badminton, field hockey, cat’s cradle, darts, lacrosse, and spinning tops (Red Road, Terri).


Men were the protectors and providers. Anything outside the household or village, the external, was relegated to men. The eldest or wisest male of the family served as sub-chiefs at Council. Traditionally chief selection was hereditary, a Chief would name his heir. 

Men are associated with external futuristic leadership and destruction. 

Family groups could split off from the bands and clans when the population grew too large to support the area they were living in or for political differences. 

The Chippewa’s men did most of the heavy work and were considerate of their women. 

In the summer, men only wore moccasins and breechcloth. When at war, they had full movement of their bodies and nothing to get caught on. In winter, they wore leggings of deer skin and skin coat. The men wore a bandolier bag over their shoulder to the thigh. In it they carried necessities for travel and hunting. 

Blankets were made of warm skins of bear and buffalo or smaller skins sewn together. Villages averaged between 100 to 300 people. Large bands of 600 used land areas of up to 1,200 square miles. Having up to 30 hunting groups of about 20 members each (Quimby, 1960).

God taught them to hunt and build fire (Schoolcraft, Travels in MInn. and Wisc. 1821).


Sacred stories were passed down orally from generation to generation. They told us our history and how to ensure a long life on the Good Way. Teaching a truth or value. Some stories were very amusing and embellished for laughter. 

These stories never failed to draw the attention of whole assemblies of Indians, particularly the children. The boys especially absorbed the stories of creatures into their minds, and the memory of them kept them interested in all animals, birds, fishes and reptiles they came in contact with, on their hunting trips with bow and arrows and spears for fish. There is a story connected with each of these creatures. 

For example, “Once upon a time, a little Indian boy was left an orphan, and the grandmother took him in, and unfortunately, the grandmother was of a wicked nature and started to torment the little Indian boy. The little boy wished that Nanabozo would turn him into a bird, and Nanabozo granted the little boy’s wish. And he flew up into the limb of the tree that was standing near the wigwam of his grandmother and started to laugh, and his grandmother begged him to come back, and the little Indian boy would not, and so we have the Robin Redbreast, still hanging around near a dwelling house.”  

There are absorbing stories attached to almost every creature found in North America and to the Indian when he enters the forest or the grassy plain. There is never any lack of interest as he is a part of nature, and he talks to the creatures as brothers (Plain, 1950).

Stories were told truthfully with a touch of humorous or dramatic exaggeration (Eastman). Lodge stories are oral fictitious lore, tales, and legends for amusement to convey instruction and impress examples of courage, daring, or right action. There are always spiritual notions of the wild forest that reveal hopes and fears, notions of deity, belief in the future state (Schoolcraft, “30 years among the Indians”). 

The Anishinabe society was an oral culture; speaking the history and teachings were always kept up. This way it would be known and remembered. The art of public speaking and storytelling was much respected. The people memorized the teachings and stories. The Anishinabek language is very descriptive and was easily recalled using strong images with words. This way it would be known and remembered. The Anishinabe were very good listeners; no one spoke as the messages were conveyed in story and history. The speeches were eloquent and persuasive, conveying the exact meaning of the news or information. 

There was very little conflict among the people; any serious crimes were very unusual. Arguments, criticism, and complaining were not acceptable behaviors. If some could not live together, they moved to another area or a new village among other family members or totem family. 


The strongest band was on the right of the entrance, the next on the left. Opposite was the post of honor, the Head Chief of a large camp. The circle is symbolic of life; women rule the lodge, on the right of the entrance is the grandmother, the mother on the left side of her husband, then the sons, father, and grandfather. Young children were between the grandparents. The grandfather was the Master of Ceremonies, at all times. 

The people were quiet and never stared. No women used the greeting “How.” Emergencies were met with calmness and decision. The other man is regarded more than self. Duty is sweeter and more inspiring. Patriotism more sacred, friendship was a true and eternal bond. 

The Indian was conscious of his relations to all life. The spiritual world was real to him. The splendor of life stands out preeminently, and beyond all dwells the Great Mystery. 

All exertion seems play rather than painful toil for possessions’ sake. He was public-spirited, always ready to undertake the impossible or to impoverish himself to please his friend. He takes his pay in the recognition of the community and the consciousness of unselfish service.  

Love of possessions allowed its way will disturb the spiritual balance. The child must learn early the beauty of generosity, to give what he prizes most by tasting the happiness of giving. Grasping for and clinging to possessions, our legends tell of contempt and disgrace falling on the ungenerous man (C. Eastman).

Totemic bands occupied the same hunting and gathering areas every year.

In summer, the men fished intently and hunted little. The catch was mainly whitefish, trout, and sturgeon. The nets were brought up in the morning for breakfast. Then the women dried and processed the fish. During the summer, the people often slept in the open near the lakeshore (Nodinens/Dunsmore). The people went barefoot in the summer. They left their crops after the potatoes were hilled. 


The maple tree was called Ninautik and the sugar Sinzibuckwud. Maple sugar was a main staple of the Anishinabe; it was produced in abundance in the early spring. The people made enough for the trading for other goods. At the sugar camp, up to 900 taps were made, up to three per tree. A slash was made into the tree and a piece of wood used to direct the flow of the sap was driven into the opening.

 Spiles were made of sumac and other types of hollowed wood. The sap begins to run when daytime temperatures are warming up above freezing and the night remains cold. 

Little troughs from felled and hollowed out trees were used to gather sap. Basswood and birch basins were made to collect sap. They were stored until the next season in sheds of bark along with the utensils used nearby the sugar camp (C. Eastman).

Legends said an Indian woman cooking venison in sap figured out the maple syrup process when she tasted the change in flavor. The Indians placed heated rocks into the vessels of sap to boil it up and evaporate it to a thick consistency. It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. A gallon of syrup weighs 22 pounds. For the sugar, the syrup is reduced more, then worked into crystals with the hands or a paddle in a trough until it is cool or poured out into containers for sugar cakes (Dr. Koelling, MSU). Wax sugar is poured into containers and not stirred (Pierre Girard, Native Tec).

Maple sugar was produced in huge quantity for trade. Thousands of pounds were packaged up in makuks, or mococks, large birchen bark container boxes weighing 50 pounds; some were 80 to 100 pounds and some 20 to 30 pounds. Containers of all sizes were used to store the sugar. Duck bills filled with maple sugar were a favorite for infants. 

In the early spring, the troughs or vats and containers of sap would freeze overnight, the ice being removed. Sugar does not freeze. This repeated freezing was another way of reducing. By removing water from the sap. The sweetest and clearest syrup was made using this method. If sap could be evaporated without heat, the sugar would be white as snow. Freezing sap leaves the finest syrup ever tasted (Vermont Agricultural Report). 

Sugar maples are almost always found on high ground. Other trees were also tapped: birch was used, also walnut, hickory, box elder, butternut, sycamore, and basswood. Maple sap contains 2% sugar and is boiled down to 66% sugar for syrup. Some trees carry more sugar content than others.

A crude way to tap a tree is to break off the ends of limbs and let the sap drip into a vessel. Also, a deep gash with the tomahawk with a rude container to collect the sap. 

Bark was stripped off the elm trees and hundreds of buckets were made. The buckets held about four gallons each. Sap was drawn from trees when water was not available in the wilderness.  

The sap was reduced down by cooking, the water vapor removed from the sap. About 40 gallons equals one gallon of syrup

Spiles were made from sumac, the pith removed to make a hollow tube. Then they are pounded into the slash made into the tree with a hatchet or a wood chip was pounded to make into a V shape. The sap was boiled in the grove, close to the trees being tapped. The sap can also be tapped from the tree roots. 

The children love to help and make candy by pouring the hot syrup on the snow to cool. It was stored in underground pits called cache pits. 

Maple sap is drawn by cutting the tree two inches deep in the wood, sloping to ten to twelve inches. A knife is thrust into the tree, sloping so the water runs along the cut as through a gutter and runs out on the knife with vessels underneath to receive it. Some trees yield five to six bottles of this water a day. The hole does no damage to the tree (Lahonton).

Sap buckets were made of white birch bark, about four gallons each. Reservoirs were vats of moose skin, holding 100 gallons which was then put into boilers holding 12 to 20 gallons each. 

The last run sap was thick and dark. The first run sap was considered the best.

The large copper kettles, some 15 gallons, were kept boiling all night. The sap was boiled to a thick syrup, strained and then heated slowly to proper consistency. In very old days, hot rocks were put into the troughs to boil the syrup down, the rocks replaced to keep the syrup boiling. 

The sugar was used to season fruit, vegetables, cereals, fish, and meat. It also made a delicious drink and was mixed with medicines to make them palatable. The sugar was mixed with bear’s fat and used as a dip for meat. It was mixed with corn and flour and eaten in travel. It was eaten by itself at times, in small amounts. The children ate sugar by the handfuls. It was made into all sorts of shapes: flowers, stars, small animals – all kinds of shapes. The molds were greased before pouring the sugar.

An offering of First Fruits Feast was held to ask the Great Spirit – Gitchi Manido – for safety, health, and long life, with speeches, ceremonies, prayers, dancing, and feasting. Some of the special food, the first fruits, was shared, with all of the people, and some put on the graves of our people (Densmore). 

The sugar camp was a time of renewal, to reunite with family and friends like a festival. 

Vessels and kettles were stored nearby the sugar camps in cache pits or bark storage buildings (Nearing, “The Maple Sugar Book”, 1950. Reprinted from The Maple Sugar Book, copyright 2000 by The Good Life Center, used with permission from Chelsea Green Publishing (

The annual spring spawn runs for fishing were shortly after the sugar time. After the fish runs, the people moved to summer encampment areas. 


Cache pits were used to store food that was processed for winter or future use. The Indians had cache pits nearby their hunting, gathering, fishing,  sugar camps and fields where corn, other grains, and vegetables grew. They had cache pits to store weapons, ammunition, and many other items. 

Some pits were near the village, others were secretive. The food kept perfectly. Sugar, vegetables, meat seeds etc. The food cache was about six feet deep and was lined with birch bark or elm bark. 

Makuks were used for storing many food items. They were made from birch bark, in all sizes, large and small, (storage boxes and containers). Skins were used as bags, along with woven bags worked from yarn, grasses, strips of rabbit hide, and other materials. There were many other types of containers. Baskets made of grasses, rushes, twigs and wood strips; pottery made with sand, clay, and glue (made from boiling hooves from the hunt, or sturgeon parts); clay vessels were made for cooking; buckets and shallow containers made of bark and wood; gourds used for storage vessels; wooden pails and boxes; and later glass jars. All of these were used to store useful items. Twigs, grasses, bark, and rushes were also used to make mats, baskets and other containers. They were gathered in their season to be stored in a sheltered building and used them as allowed. Bark sheets were used to bundle dried fish which were tied with cording made from basswood strips. When the pit was nearly filled, a layer of hay or grass was placed over the containers. A covering of birch or other bark or pine boughs was added. Then beams or planks of wood were laid across and covered with a mound of soil. 

It was a simple efficient storage and preservation method. Well-drained locations were chosen to protect the cached items from decay. Food caches held all kinds of nice things stored in the fall. Strings of dried cranberries, potatoes and apples. 

The cache was well hidden by building a fire over it or covering with rocks, brush, dry leaves or sand.

Francis Densmore, “Chippewa Customs”, was the main source for the above paragraphs.


The women did most of this work while the men were out hunting. The hides were stretched out on a frame, scraped of fat, and tanned with the brain or smoked. The smoked hides were made soft and never shrunk. Hides were smoked over a low fire, the smoke giving it a golden-yellow color. The hide is almost white before being colored this way. The smoked hides were made soft and never shrunk. The women sometimes chewed the skin to soften it, wearing their teeth down. 

Fresh skins were rolled up moist and kept warm for a time; this treatment caused the hair to easily slip out from the skin. They were then washed and scraped with a large flat piece of stone, bone, metal, or wood (Calvin Thorpe, Vol. 28, MPHC).

Deer hide was sheared then soaked for two days in clean water, then the rest of the hair was scraped off. The fleshy tissue was removed on the inside using a scraper, a bone implement called a flesher. The brains, fat, and liver of the deer were rubbed on the hide to soften it. 

The skinning of otter and other small hides were started at the hind legs; the hide was then drawn forward and the head left on. It was then stretched on a frame. Rabbit skins were not tanned but hung on bushes to dry.   

Furs were dried and packed, the largest on the bottom, stacking and folding the sides and securing the bundle with cords. Bear or wolf skin was placed over the top of each bale. Each bale was numbered and its contents listed. 

Whether with pottery, clothing, or moccasins, every tribe had its own distinctive designs, and one could tell instantly which tribe had made it. 


Twine was made of basswood fiber or bark. It was a very useful article. Fiber was taken from between the bark and the wood of the tree. It was pulled and cut away, then soaked in the water. It was secured to grass or reeds and left to soak for 10 days, making it soft and slippery. The fibers easily separated. It was made into narrower strips, wound into coils, then hung to dry. It was stored with the other bark supplies until needed. There were many layers to the fiber, some were of thinner strings, others of thicker cording and ropes for many uses. It was boiled, making it tough and stronger. Slippery elm was also used this way. It was very useful for tying bundles, as thread, fish line, clothesline, towing, hinges – you name it. Twisted twine and cord was also made by rolling the fibers on one’s leg with the palm until it twisted.

Nettle fiber was fine and strong; it was used in weaving cloth for bags, undergarments, fish nets, and snares. Sinew from game was also used as a string or thread.

Nets are woven with a wood shuttle to about 60 arm-spreads long. Pieces of light wood act as floats, and stones are used as sinkers. Nets are soaked in tubs with sumac leaves to destroy the fish odor, then are spread out to dry over a long pole on tall stakes. 

Rushes and grasses were gathered and made into mats. Mats were very useful items for floors, walls, seating, bedding, bags, and more. The mats were used to cover the wigwam in summer, as well as the floor of the wigwam. A separate building was used to keep the rushes shaded and moist, keeping them pliable. When moving with the seasons, the blankets were rolled inside the mats; the baby could also be placed in the rolled mats to carry on the women’s back. Dried moss and cattail down were gathered in quantity for baby diapers, and rabbit skins were also used. 


Birch bark was cut in early spring when it was most easily removed from the trees. The bark was very thick, up to one inch thick on large trees. Birch bark was used for many home crafts: boxes, containers, dishes, molds, walls for the tepee or wigwam. It was used for messages, like paper. Canoes were made from it. The bark had natural antiseptic properties for storing food supplies. Frances Densmore, “Chippewa Customs”, was the main source for this information.

On the birch tree, the bark would be the last part of a tree to decay, keeping its form after the wood had disintegrated. It has little thunderbirds that decorate the bark; this was more distinct in some locals. 

The bark had six to nine distinct layers. The thinnest like tissue paper, tough and used to wrap packages. The birch bark keeps from decay any contents stored in it. It is used as tinder for fire, for torches, and as a cooking vessel. The inner surface exposed to the fire. With water or liquid in the bark, it did not burn (Densmore, Chippewa Customs).

There is a short window out of the year when a birch tree can be peeled without injuring the tree. After the bark is removed, the tree regenerates new bark in 10 or 12 years, which can then again be removed (Lois Beardslee, 1995/Modern Indian).

Basswood is also known as tilia or linden tree. It has very little graining, it is used in carving and intricate woodworking for windows, its fiber is called bast. It is used as a diffuser for aquariums. So, it has breathing qualities, holding air in the wood. The leaves are heart-shaped. The wood is soft and easily worked and very buoyant. It is used to make instruments, having wonderful acoustic properties. 

The flowers of basswood have many medicinal uses, the double-flower type used in making perfume. It is an elm in Greek, or black poplar. 


Indian men made many tools, jewelry, weapons, and more. The aze was a hammer: a stone was fastened to a wooden handle by splitting the stick and binding it tightly with leather. Smaller types were used to pound meat and berries. 

The men made knives, spearheads, axes, clubs, arrowheads and many other tools and useful items. Scrapers were made of stone. Truckloads have been found and removed from throughout the thumb of Michigan, Ontario, and the whole continent.

Wooden articles were made with knives – a crooked knife was the most useful. Ash was used for light articles; witch hazel, elder, birch, spruce, cedar, oak, ironwood, maple, and hickory all had their special uses. Bowls were made from knots. For clubs, spoons, snowshoes, and sleds, wood was bent by placing it in hot water or near a fire. Snow shovels, pack frames, paddles were of all kinds and sizes, from spatulas to canoe paddles, from troughs to work sugar to wood implements for gardening. Fire coloration was made by smoking using black mud fumes. 

The Indians made use of copper which was mined in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and other places. It was often exposed, and pits were dug to mine the copper. Fire was built and heated the rock, then cold water was poured on the hot rocks, and they cracked and the copper was extracted. There were thousands of mining pits. Copper from the Upper Peninsula was traded extensively throughout America, Mexico, and Central America (Nishnawbe, Deur). The Anishinabe are renowned for their ability to locate copper ore (Wm. W. Warren).


Moccasins were the footwear used by the Indians. In moccasins, the feet have full play: they bend and grasp like an acrobat when crossing slender and slippery logs or passing along dizzying trails. They do not stick in the mud. They are warm when stuffed with fur. A person can move swiftly, as they are lightweight. They prevent corns and cure them (C. Thorpe, MPHC vol. 28). They are also silent. Moccasins are very warm, they do not chafe the skin, cause corns, cut off circulation, or cause other problems with the feet. 

The Ojibwe moccasin had a puckered seam up the front. Other tribes used a tongue-shaped piece to make the front of their moccasins. The moccasins were sewed up with sinew thread. 

In cold weather, the moccasins were lined with rabbit fur. The comfort and practicality was unsurpassed. The lowest temperatures were without discomfort.  

At night, the moccasins were not dried by the fire, but were simply wrung out and put on wet in the morning. In cold weather, the feet were wrapped in one or more layers or pieces of blankets called nepes. Sometimes wisps of hay were placed inside the moccasins (Emmert, MHC vol. 47). 

Hides were used to make soft clothing and blankets. Strips of rabbit fur were woven into a soft, warm blanket (Francis Densmore, “Chippewa Customs”).  

Summer villages were groups of individual autonomous hunting groups linked by kinship, marriage, and totemic – Doodem, affiliations. The people, lived in great peace; all were allowed to do as they wished. All were equal. The Indian cherishes patience and understanding. They respect age as wisdom. It was more important to give than receive. 

The Ojibwe would never be seen walking side by side with his wife. He always walks ahead, and in the assemblies, the women were in one place, the men occupying the prominent place. This was in observance of cleanliness laws. 

Grandparents told our history, repeating the time-hallowed tales with dignity and authority to lead into his inheritance in the stored-up wisdom and experience of the race. The old were dedicated to service of the young; they were the teachers and advisors. The young regarded them with love and reverence. Old age gave much freedom. 

We are a polite people, the warrior a man of gentleness among family and friends. A soft low voice is an excellent thing in men. They have unfailing respect for the established place and possessions of every other member of the family circle.

They are not demonstrative of affection at any time. Two who love should be united in secret before the public act of their union. 

The family social unit was also the government unit. The larger clan family was made up of several clans by intermarriage and voluntary connection; this constitutes the tribe. Marriage was forbidden within the clan family (Eastman).

Textiles and clothing were made of leaf, nettle fibers, and animal hides. Sinew and nettle fiber were used for sewing thread (Densmore, 1979). Turkey feathers were sometimes woven into a coat (Schoolcraft). Bone or thorns were used as needles. 

At the age of seven, boys were instructed by the men and taught to hunt and fish. 

When the hunters went to the forest for the winter camps. The old men and women remained at the main village, some of the women and children stayed also. Some families went to the hunting camp to help with the work, cooking, gathering wood, tanning hides, and drying meat. 

Torches were made from rolled bark and pitch. In the crotch of a pine tree is found a bunch of dry needles with pitch on them: they make a fine torch. 

Wood was used for many things: homes, fuel, canoes, furniture, arrows, bowls, utensils, boxes, paddles, rattles, shuttles for weaving, fish nets, and war clubs. Scoop shovels were also made from wood. The birch bark was used for writing, scrolls, and making maps.  

We had runners, messengers who would deliver important information. They were endurance runners, messengers, who would deliver important information. They were endurance champions, running up to 50 miles a day. Called “runners of the woods”, or curriers. 



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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.

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