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.
SAULT STE. MARIE
“Sault Ste. Marie was the Central Mart of the whole Northwest” (Fowle).
“Corn, tobacco, and sugar were available for trade with the natives for furs. The Huron – Ottawa – were the Great Traders, having the monopoly over the Northern trade areas. In 1812, the total White population of the territory was under 4,000” (Fowle).
“The Old Copper Culture of the Great Lakes made this region the home of the oldest metal workers in the world” (K. Porterfield, “10 Lies about Indigenous Science”).
FORT ST. JOSEPH
Fort St. Joseph was built by Duluth in 1782. The little fort was a bastioned block house of logs at the strait of Lakes Huron and Erie. The fort or the trading house was used by the Huron and Ottawa of Lake Huron to retreat to against the Iroquois invaders.
“I am to go along with Mr. Dulhut, a Lion’s Gentleman, a person of great merit and who has done his King and his country very considerable services. M. De Tonti is another of our company” (Lahonton).
The Recollects priests brand the savages for stupid, gross and rustik persons incapable of thought or reflection. But the Jesuits priests give them other sort of language. For they entitle them to good sense, to a tenacious memory, and to a quick apprehension seasoned with a solid judgment. That these savages take pleasure in hearing the word of God and readily apprehend the meaning of scripture.
The Recollects and Jesuits content themselves with glancing at things without taking notice of the (almost) invincible aversion of the savages to the truth of Christianity.
They are indefatigable and inured to hardships, their whole time being spent in the way of exercise, running up and down, at hunting, and fishing, or in dancing and playing at football or such games as require the motion of the legs.
The women never cut their hair, whereas men cut theirs every month. Sometimes hair is cut as a punishment for adultery, though very rare. (Lahonton)
Their villages are fortified with double pallissadoes of very hard wood, which are as thick as one’s thigh and fifteen feet high, with little squares about the middle of the courtines. Commonly their huts, or cottages, are 80 feet long, 25 to 30 feet deep, and 20 feet high. They are covered with the bark of young elms and have two alcoves, one on the right and one on the left, being a foot high and 9 feet broad, between which they make their fires, there being vents made in the roof for the smoak. Upon the sides of the two alcoves are little closets, or apartments, in which the young women or married persons lye upon little beds raised about a foot from the ground. One hut contains three or four families.
They are very healthy and have no European diseases, but are liable to smallpox and to pleurisies. They commonly live to 80 or 100. But there are some who do not live too long because they voluntarily poison themselves. ‘We payson (poisen) ourselves in order to accompany our relations to the Country of Souls’.
Money is in use with none but those that are Christian who live in the suburbs of our towns. They will not touch silver or look upon it, but call it the Odioes, name of the French Serpent.
They’ll tell you that amongst us the people murther (murder), plunder, defame, and betray one another for money. That the husbands make merchandise of their wives, and the mothers their daughters for the lucre of that metal. They think it unaccountable that one man should have more than another, and that the rich would have more respect than the poor. In short, they say the name of savages, which we bestow on them, would fit ourselves better since there is nothing in our actions that bears an appearance of wisdom.
They neither quarrel nor fight, nor slander one another. They brand us for slaves, alleging we degrade ourselves in subjecting to one man, who possess the whole power and is bound by no law but his own will. That we have continued jars among ourselves: that our children rebel against their parents, that we imprison one another and publickly promote our own destruction. They pretend that their contented way of living far surpasses our riches. That all our sciences are not valuable as the art of leading a peaceful, calm life.
They are as ignorant of geography as of other sciences, and yet they draw the most exacting map imaginable of the countries their acquainted with. For their nothing wanting in them but the longitude and latitude of places: they set down the true North, according to the pole stars, the ports, harbours, rivers, creeks, and coasts of the Lake, the roads, mountain, woods, marshes, meadows, accounting the distance by journeys, and half journeys, of the warriors. These choro-graphical maps are drawn upon the rind of your birch tree, and when the old men hold a council, about war or hunting, there always sure to consult them.
They have a wonderful idea of anything that depends upon the attention of the mind and attain to an exact knowledge of many things by long experiences: To follow the tract of a man or beast upon the grass of leaves; so, they know the hour of the day and night exactly, even when it is so cloudy that neither sun nor stars appear. I impute this talent to a steady command of mind which is not natural to any but those whose thoughts are little distracted as these men are. They pay an infinite deference to old age. They take the ancient men for oracles.
They have no set hours for meals; they eat when their hungry, and commonly do it in a large company feasting here and there by turns.
Their game of counters is purely numerical: add, subtract, multiply, and divide the best by these counters is the winner.
The Savages are a very sensible people and perfectly well-acquainted with the interest of their nation.
All Savages are convinced there is a God by the frame of the universe which naturally leads us to a higher and omnipotent being. Man is the work of a Being superior in wisdom and knowledge, whom they call the Great Spirit or Master of Life, and which they adore in the most abstract and spiritual manner.
The existence of God being inseparable from his essence; it contains everything, it appears in everything, and gives motion to everything. In all that you see, all that you can conceive, is the Divinity. They adore Him in everything they see and believe nothing comes to pass but by the decree of that infinitely perfect Being. They believe that God, for reasons above our reach, makes use of the sufferings of good people to display his justice.
The Christians they say make jest of God’s precepts for they counteract his orders without intermission and rob him of the worship, which he claims as his due, by paying it to silver, beavers, and to their own interest. They murmer against Heaven and him when things go cross with them. They go about their business on days set apart for works of piety and devotion. Spend their time in gaming, drinking in excess, fighting, and scolding. In the nighttime, they debauch, the women savages. They murther one another, every day, for theft, or affronts or women, pillage and rob one another, without regard to tyes of blood or friendship.
They bespatter and defame one another with outrageous calumnies and make no scruple to lye when it will serve their interest. Debauch other men’s wives. They incessantly transgress. I should never come to the end, if I entered into the particulars of their savage ways of reasoning. (Lahonton, “Voyages to New France, Voyages to North America” II)
The young men marry at 30 years old, they abstain from women to keep their strength, for enemie’s attacks. They are a stranger to blind fury, which we call love. They content themselves with a tender friendship. They are very careful in preserving the liberty and freedom of their heart, which they look upon as the most valuable treasure upon earth. From whence I conclude, that they are not altogether so savage as we are. They never quarrel, reproach, or affront one another. All are as good as another, all upon the same level. Adultery is abhorred. Their huts are open day and night. No robbers or secret enemies apprehensioned.
The young women drink the juice of certain root which prevents conception or kills the fruit of the womb. Venereal distemper is common.
Tis allowable for married men and women to part when they please, giving eight days warning. The children are the treasure of the savages and are split evenly.
When a woman is with child, there is abstinence, until 30 days after birth. They suckle as long as they have milk; they are not jealous.
There is no wound or dislocation they cannot cure with the simples or plants whose vertue’s they are well-acquainted with, and their wounds never run to a gangrene.
Upon the death of a savage, his slaves marry and live by themselves free. The children are adopted and are as children of the nation. (Lahonton)
In 1687, Fort St. Joseph was the mobilization center for a French and Indian War party to New York.
FRANCE CLAIMS THE REGION
In the spring of 1687, the Marquis De Denonville, Governor of Canada, determined on an expedition against the Seneca – Iroquois of New York, enemies of the Canadian Colonies. M. De Tonty, Commander at St. Louis – Niagara, was called to meet up with Duluth and his allies, and Sieurs, LaForest (subordinate to Tonti), and La Durante all joined at Detroit (Port Huron – Fort Gratiot). They took formal possession of the Strait as far down as the River St. Denis (probably the Rouge).
Durantaye had with him 30 Englishmen, whom he had captured on Lake Huron while on his way down from Mackinaw. They had been sent by Colonel Dongan, Governor of New York, to take possession of Mackinaw and the region and to open up trade with the Indians.
The party consisted of 150 Frenchmen, 400 Indians, and the 30 Englishmen. They captured a second party of Major McGregor, 16 Englishmen, and 13 Allied Indians, who were also on their way to Mackinaw. They proceeded to Niagra. (Fowle)
“La Durante had halted his Savage forces from the far Indians (Mackinac) at the head of the Strait leading from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair. There on June 7, 1687 had erected the Arms of France and taken formal possession of the vast region in the name of the King” (Lahonton).
“It is a fearful passage through Iroquois Country. To die is nothing, but to live in the midst of fire is too much” (Lahonton).
You cannot imagine the pleasant prospect, he (Lahonton) assures. The banks are covered with all sorts of wild fruit trees. Charmed with the beauty and free life of St. Joseph, the Country. The youthful Commandment, passed the autumn with the chase to which he had become passionately devoted, and dallying with parties of tribesmen that passed up and down, bent on war, plunder, and hunting. The restless commander sought an excuse in lack of provisions, to set out with the majority of his force. A small garrison was left at the fort. He left for Mackinac, the little French military and trading station, to buy up corn from the Huron and Ottawa’s. He joined a Chippewa party from the northwest in a raid into Iroquois Country, east of Lake Huron, stopping at his fort only long enough to land a few sacks of corn. He was accompanied by the Huron chief, the Rat, whom he calls Adario in his voyages.
Parties of Indians at the fort in the summer brought news of disease, destitution, probable abandonment, and a peace with the Iroquois at Niagra. At his own discretion, he burned the fort and left for Mackinac with all his men.
Lahonton was to return to France, but at Montreal, Frontenac wanted him to stay as a companion on his journeying’s because of his experience with the outposts, the aborigines, and took counsel of him for the desperate condition of New France. After a time, Lahonton did go to France to his ruined estate. Then he was sent to Canada again with a plan for the destruction of the Iroquois and a defeat of five English ships, who battered the fort with 2,000 cannon shots and some fishing villages. He became Lieutenant of the King for Newfoundland and Acadia. In Maritime New France, which was a fiasco, when he returned to Europe in exile and wrote his journals.
The Natives he describes as a creature of rare beauty of form, a rational being, thinking deep thoughts on great subjects. But freed from the trammels and frets of civilization. Bound by none of its restrictions. No court, law, police, ministers of an American State, or other paraphernalia of government Arcady. A natural, sweetly reasonable religion.
Here no vulgar love of money pursued the Native in his leafy home. Without distinction of property, the rich man was he who might give most generously. Man, innocent and unadorned, passed his life in the pleasure of the chase, warring only in the cause of the Nation. Scorning the supposititious benefactors of civilization and free from its disease, misery, sycophancy and oppression.
The American wilderness was the seat of serenity and noble philosophy. A delightful representation, arousing the keenest curiosity, regarding the New World. A land so enormous, undiscovered by half. Great rivers, cataracts, inland lakes like oceans. Vast unknown land, wherein mysterious beasts of prey, clad in furs to be envied by a Monarch.
Lahonton was a precursor of the Great Thinkers of the Revolutionary period in France. Passionately just and fair.
I wish I could spend the rest of my life in his hut to be no longer exposed to bending the knee to a set of men that sacrifice the public good to their private interest and are born to plague Honest Men.
Whores were brought from France to Canada to wife the men.
I have been at hunting with 30 to 40 young Algonins, who were well-made, clever fellows. I was to learn the language of the Country, for all the Nations for a thousand leagues round understand it perfectly well all over North America. The Huron and Iroquois were aliens in their midst”. (Lahonton/Powell 1885)
Of the Five Nations Iroquois village, each village contains 1,400 souls, though some will tell you that each village has not above 1,000 souls. They look upon themselves as sovereigns accountable to none but God alone. They were harassed by the French. In 1696, Frontenac crushed the Iroquois.
The canoes are four and a half feet wide and 28 feet long. Crack open upon stone or sand, and spoil the provisions and merchandise. Every day there is some new shink, or seam, to be gummed over. At night, they are always unloaded and carried on shore, pegged lest the wind should blow ‘em away. When the season serves, they carry little sails. There are no keels, nails, or pegs in the whole structure. They last five to six years.
The Iroquois at Montreal, asking for a missionary at Quinte, threw in upon us harts, roebucks, turkeys, and fish in exchange for needles, knives, powder, and several cayugas.
Fevers raged among the militia, being unacquainted with the way of setting their boats. With poles. They were faced at every turn to get into the water and drag ‘em up against the rapid stream. (Lahonton, “New Voyages to America”)
“The Iroquois robbed the French who supplied their enemies, the Ojibwe, with guns, powder, and ball. They raided Huron villages, taking furs and trade items, needing more furs to pay for guns, powder, and shot. The farmer (not agricultural) formed a Company collecting duties on skins at Montreal. There was a 700% clear profit” (Lahonton).
Monsieur Antoine De La Motte Cadillac, Commandant at Fort Michimilimackinac, understood the Indian customs and respected them. The French in Paris made judgments about Michigan by the reports sent by the priests. The priests complained about the warriors sent to fight wearing no clothing, and selling them liquor in trade was withholding Christianity from the Savage. An order came to Cadillac to clothe the Indians and prohibit liquor at the settlement.
Cadillac answered to a friend,
it is a great mistake if people think this place is deserted. There is a fine fort of pickets and 60 houses that form a street in a straight line. There is a garrison of well-disciplined, chosen soldiers consisting of about 200 men. This place should not be deprived of the privilege of furnishing the necessary drinks for their men. Houses are arranged along the shore of this Great Lake Huron, and fish and smoked meat constitute the principal food.
The villages of the Indians, in which there are six or seven thousand souls, are about a pistol-shot distance from ours. All the lands are cleared for about three leagues or nine miles around their village and perfectly well cultivated. They produce a sufficient quantity of Indian corn for the use of both the French and Indian inhabitants. Now what reason can one assign that the Indians should not drink brandy bought with their own money, as well as we?
The law strictly forbids anyone to trade with the Indians for their arms. As for their clothing, can anyone assert that clothing is necessary for them to go to war? It is the custom when the moment comes for their departure on warlike expeditions, for the warrior to dispose of all his clothing, making presents of the different articles to those who remain at home; and on their return, it is permitted to each of them to gather all that belongs to him.
It is bad faith to represent to the count that the sale of brandy reduces the Indian to a state of nudity and by that means places it out of his power to make war; since he never goes to war in any other condition.
Prohibiting the transportation of brandy had much discouraged the Frenchmen who are here from trading in future. Ceasing to sell liquor has caused a universal commotion among all the Nations.
The Indians would not exchange their life or wigwams for the Louvre.
In his 1695 meeting with the Chippewa, the Indians affirmed they wanted to be friends with the French, and brothers. But if the French treat them as enemies or slaves and withhold brandy for beaver pelts, the Indians would take their furs to the English, who would give them liquor.
In 1696, Frontenac gathered 2,000 men and Indian allies to raid the Iroquois and permanently end their harassment in New France. Duluth was among them with 500 Ojibwe warriors, gathered from the post around Fort St. Joseph. This number represented about 3,000 people.
A Peace Treaty was agreed upon with the Iroquois for safe passage of the fur traders.
The French returned to Michigan in 1701 to establish only one fort that would be manned. Cadillac convinced the King that the Strait would stop the English from trading furs to the northern and western country. Cadillac would build Fort Ponchetrain at Detroit, named after the Colonial Minister Count Ponchetrain. Fur trading continued. In 1715, Cadillac and his son Jacque, made an expedition to the North, Illinois Land and discovered vast mineral deposits.
St. Anne’s Church was built in Detroit in 1701, the first structure in Detroit named after the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ. It was burned in 1703. It is now the second oldest Roman Catholic Church in the nation. The church was again burned in 1714 by the people to avoid it being used as cover by the Fox Native Americans during the great battle with them.
The French Catholic fathers who established missions wanted Indians to renounce what they perceived as pagan idolatry and to embrace Christ through baptism. They expected total conformity to ridged Catholic edicts. The Indian had a well-developed religious and social system. It made sense, was effective, and comfortable. They had no reason or desire to change their customs or beliefs. Their way of life did change with new trade items. Their life decisions had complex ramifications.
The French were interested in trade and the Indians’ goods and services, as well as spreading the message of Christianity. The French were glad to have guides, hunters, trappers, and warriors as allies and friends. They traded for furs, corn, wild rice, meat, fish, sugar, clothing, moccasins, and many other Indian products.
GUIDES AND INTERPRETERS
Guides and interpreters were indispensable to any North American expedition. They knew the country, the people, any possible dangers. They knew friends and enemies, how to make friends, and appease the enemy, when to follow their employers’ whims, and when to assert authority, born of superior knowledge. Very often they were Metis – mixed blood, French and Native, always longtime friends with the indigenous people or married into the tribe. They knew the ways and thoughts of the natives.
For the most part, the French were not here to change the customs or occupy Indian lands; they were a very small number of people among hundreds of thousands of indigenous people. The Fur Trade was very lucrative.
The missionaries endured great hardship in carrying the gospel to the savages, enduring the dangers of the Indians and the unfriendly traders.
The missionaries, “Black Robes”, also brought disease, and the Indians were fearful of their presence. The missionaries’ work was very difficult; the Indians moved frequently, were absent in the winter for hunting, and were well-established in worshipping the Great Spirit.
Throughout the time of the exploration of North America, South America and Central America were also part of the New World of riches to be found; slaves, sugar, salt, and rum trades was also emerging, and gold was found. The Spanish had claimed most of these lands. They were eager to exploit the natural resources and peoples of these New World countries.
The missionaries were also explorers searching for the riches of the New World. They were very influential in politics and economics. In Montreal, the Catholic Church received one-eighth of all land sales. Clergy reserves were 200 acres.
There were great numbers of Anishinabe in Michigan, Ontario, and the Northwest before explorers and missionaries arrived. The country was well-settled.
The Hurons were the first Natives in Southern Ontario to be penetrated by the Black Robes. They called them sorcerers and imposters come to take possession of their country: “The Huron said, when the Black Robes, ‘Echon’ (‘Demon’) Jean De Brebeauf, the Jesuit, set foot in the Huron country, he had said, ‘I shall be here so many years, I shall cause many to die, then go elsewhere to do the same, until I have ruined the whole land’. A genocide policy, or biological warfare” (Metis History, www).
“Smallpox raged fiercely; the pretext of trade opened doors for the trade and disease” (Metis History, www).
Women of the Ojibwe and Anishinabek were revered and treated as equals. The Jesuits changed that.
The Jesuits were given to flogging and slavery.
The people loved their freedom and independence. They were slow to anger and tolerant of others’ opinions. They were in horror of restraint and bondage.
The Jesuits in 1644 had the gift of cures, the gift of tongues, the gift of prophesy, everything that can astonish. The people believe it is jiggery and pokier, based on sorcery. The priests call for flagellation and whipping even children at the breast. The perverted practice called Holy Ceremony. The Indians never raised a hand to any child for any reason. We were not to participate in any religious services.
The Jesuits were destroying family harmony and breaking up families. Our Giving Away was called not Christian but a Pagan practice; they rejected the sharing of our culture in everything. (Metis History, www)
“In 1728, the Jesuit mission to the Hurons included, a Catholic School, for Indian children. Religion was the first area of Indian culture with which the White Man interfered. Here the White Man actively sought to change the Indians’ way of life. Other Indian customs and behavior patterns became points of conflict as they obstructed the White Man’s desires, which centered around full and undisputed possession of the best farm land” (Emmert, MHC vol. 47).
From 1687 to 1688, Father Aveneau was the resident priest at Fort St. Joseph, at the foot of Lake Huron, the first on the west side of the St. Clair River.
“The St. Joseph Mission, at the foot of Lake Huron, was destroyed and Father Daniel slain” (History of Oakland County).
The first French and Iroquois war was in 1641.
When the Huron Wendat were slaughtered, the Petun, Tobacco Huron People, moved to the West to leave the violence. They settled in Oklahoma. The Huron Wendat joined the Ojibwe and settled at the Huron River. Some went to Montreal with the Jesuits, others were captives, adopted into the Iroquois in New York. Some went North and lived with the Ottawa and Ojibwe.
The Huron River was the St. Clair River, the Strait. Between Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, there was also a Huron River at what is now the Clinton River, at Mt. Clemons, Michigan, and a Huron River at what is now called the Cass River in Michigan’s Thumb.
“There was a Mission village of St. Joseph, Northwest of Lake Simcoe” (Lahonton II, Voyages to America).
Lahonton wrote of the Indians:
The Oucabipoues, called Sauteurs, of the Eagle Tribe – Missisaugas – say the Great Spirit has given us an understanding of good and evil, and we religiously observe the true measure of justice and wisdom. That the tranquility and serenity of the soul pleases the Great Master of Life. That he abhors trouble and anxiety of the mind, because it renders men wicked. That Life is a dream and death the season of awakening, in which the Soul sees and knows the nature and quality of all things, visible and invisible. That the utmost reach of our minds can’t go one inch above the surface of the earth so we ought not corrupt and spoil it, by trying to pry into invisible and improvable things. We believe we will go to the Country of Souls after death. If your religion differs from ours it does not mean that we have none at all. My belief to such things as are visible and probable. The Great Spirit is wise, all his Works are Perfect, tis He that made us and He knows perfectly well what will become of us.
Tis our part to act freely, without perplexing our thoughts about future things.
Your Worship consists only in words and seem to be calculated to cheat us. Make pretentions to faith but are downright infidels, pass for wise but are fools. You think yourselves men of sense, but the Truth is ignorance and presumption is your true character.
Man is full of corruption. Passions, interest, and corruption are not known among us. The French have no regard to the laws of their religion. The Jesuits send us to Hell for a trifle.
Our young men do not marry till he has made some campaigns against the Iroquois and taken slaves to serve him. He will not use his energy by venery, when his strength is needed to serve his nation in war. And he will not expose a wife and child to the affliction of seeing him killed or taken prisoner.
The French rob our Girlies, deflowering ‘em. French have such an itch to gather for themselves. Our men when they marry, they marry as a valuable treasure. It is a crime of the highest demerit.
For my part I shall not think it strange if there be not one Ecclestiek in the Paradise of the Great Spirit.
The innocence of our Lives, the love we tender to our brethren, and the tranquility of mind we enjoy, the Great Spirit requires of all men. We do these naturally in our villages. Are not laws the same as just and reasonable things?
Man is not entitled to that character by walking on two legs, reading and writing and shewing a thousand instances of his industry.
I call that creature a man that hath a natural inclination to do good. And never entertains the thought of doing evil. You see that we have no Judge. We neither quarrel or sue one another. We are resolved to neither receive or know silver. Why? Because we are resolved to have no laws, since the World was a world where our ancestors lived happily without ‘em. We have no lawsuits. The word Law does not signifie Just and Reasonable things as you use it.
The Black Devils are not in the regions where souls burn in flames, but in Quebec and in France where they keep company with the Laws, the False Witnesses, the conveniences of life, the Cities, the Fortresses and the pleasure you spoke of.
We have no laws, no prisons, pass our life in a state of sweetness and tranquility. We live quietly under the laws of instinct and innocent conduct. Money is the Father of all the mischief in the World. A Man is of Wisdom, Reason, Equity.
Our Happiness is Liberty and Tranquility of Mind. We fear no robbers, assassins or false witnesses. (Lahonton II)
John Eliot, a Puritan, printed the first Bible in America. He printed the New Testament in 1661 and the Old Testament in 1663. John Eliot wrote and published the First Indian Bible; it was written in Algonquin.
“Charlevoix visited New France – Detroit, and wrote that game was abundant, and herds of buffalo were then ranging upon the prairies about River Raisen” (Cass/Wells and Whitney, Detroit, 1834).
Buffaloes – pisikious – were called “oxen” or “wild cattle” by the French.
“In 1750, Father Vivier says the Jesuits error in saying the Indians are savage. They are gentle and sociable by nature, have wit, and seem to have no more than our peasants, as much at least as most Frenchmen. Neither rank nor dignity among them, all Men seem equal to them. Never interrupt in conversation. Speak as boldly to a king as to the lowest subject. Do not get angry while conversing. Many qualities are not found in civilized people. They live in great peace” (Canadian History, a Distinct Viewpoint, Timeline, Metis, www).
The Copper Country was well used in the trade with the Nations tribes and for tools, weapons, jewelry, and many other items. The Mascoutins were said to be the mine workers. There were hundreds of mines and ancient mining pits. The copper was used in many ways. The Indians used large quantities of hammers, ancient hammers, tools, wedges, baskets, and scaffolding. Ten cartloads of ancient hammers, one weighing 39 ½ pounds having double handles, were found near Ontonagon River in Upper Michigan.
The Sault was the gateway to the rich northern country. There were over 1,100 canoes to support the huge business of the Fur Trade. The Christina Huron alone acquired firearms from the traders.
When the Indians were first exposed to the wondrous trade goods of the French, objects of metal, cloth, and glass, they believed they were in the possession of Diety. Here were beautiful beads, time saving pots and tools, and the woven fabric was much easier to work with. The metal knives and hatchets were highly appreciated.
Early trade was conducted as if the French were members of another tribe. The exchange of trade goods.
The Indian traders, Huron and Ottawa, blocked the French from the direct trade route, with the other tribes initially. They had the monopoly on Indian trade.
Colonial France was along the St. Lawrence. The Isle of Orleans was Montreal. New Orleans, Quebec, was founded in 1718, named after the King’s son, “The Duke of Orleans”. The New Country was called Quebec.
“The Jesuit Mission at Montreal was called ‘Sault Saint Louis’, or ‘Saint Louis Rabids’” (Global Genealogy, Ontario, Upper Canada, Canada West, Resources. www).
In 1632, a man named Hebert a Physician, was the first settler and received the first slave of the French Colony, a Black boy from the West Indies. Slavery was common. The Indians also had slaves taken from enemy raids. Slavery was actively practiced in New France, in the St. Lawrence Valley and in Louisiana Territory, for two centuries.
In the late 1600s, the French took captives from the British Colonies, brought from Louisiana Territory and the Caribbean.
The majority of Native American slaves were given to the French as tokens of friendship. By early 1700, the buying and selling of captives like merchandise was common.
The Pawnees of the Missouri River Basin who were taken captive were called ‘Panis’, or Pawnee became the generic name for any aboriginal slave. Esckave Panis means ‘Panis slave’ in French.
In 1719, the Louisiana’s large area of American slave trade came from Africa.
In 1807, slavery was abolished in the British Colonies. (C. Moore, The History of MI)
The Catholic Church was said to be the largest slaveholder in New France. The French kept their slaves until death.
See “Chapter 12: Northern Slavery”.
In 1682, LaSalle had the honor of claiming Louisiana for the French, held by the Spanish at the time. The French had named the Territory La Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV. Upper Louisiana included the Great Lakes, Canada, and the Rocky Mountains. Lower Louisiana Territory reaching the Gulf of Mexico. France ceded the Eastern Territory in 1763 to Britain and the Western Territory to Spain.
In 1685, the French Huguenots left France; they were leaving because they were Protestants of the Catholic Church corruption of France. They wanted equal rights and tax reform. The Catholic Seigniorial Feudal System had made everyone – the Common People – slaves to masters.
At Stadaconia, an Iroquois Village on the St. Lawrence, where Cartier and his men were saved by the people who cured the scurvy with rich cedar broth. He took ten Natives back to France with him and who died there of disease. Champlain later established the Colony of L’Habitation, the beginning of Quebec at this place.
By 1700, Acadia changed between French and English rule many times.
Kanata – Canada, means “village”. Hochelaga was Mount Royal in Montreal. Ville D’ Etroit were the few French who settled along the Strait.
In 1776 in Montreal, the French Fur Traders banded together to form the Northwest Company in order to compete with the Hudson’s Bay Company of the Grossieliers Empire, of English support.
By 1803, every person of eminence and prominence was engaged in trade. 1803 was also the year of the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon Bonaparte of Spain, who also held most of North America.
Whiskey was a necessary commodity. Tens of thousands of gallons were transported to the trading posts. There were Forest Salons for the men. The Ojibwe and allies’ women and girls were beautiful and in demand. Polygamy was common, as the men were killed at times in war. Wife stealing and adultery among the Pottawatomi was common.
The Jesuits claim that the Courieurs De Bois and French soldiers were ruining the Indians with brandy and debauching their women by turning them into trade goods. The Jesuits teach that people are a dog and less than a flea before God. They destroyed the belief of God’s help in the environment and against enemies.
The progress of population at present is obstructed, not only by the wet, unhealthy state of the Country, but also by other circumstances: One-seventh of the whole Country is reserved for the Crown, and one seventh for the Episcopal Clergy: also by an existing law of Old Canada, all real estates, though sold seven times in seven years, must be sold at the Chapel door, mostly on the first day afternoon, one ninth of whereof goes to the Roman Catholic Church. By this means some congregations, especially in Montreal and Quebec, have become immensely rich and enabled to carry on their idolatrous pomp and parade of worship so as to make the world wonder. But as light is rising, a necessary reform is apprehended to be not far distant.
Had a solid interview with Elliott, Deputy Agent of Indian Affairs for the British. He is preparing to return to the Indian Council at the Rapids. We proposed to him whether there would be any impropriety in our going with him. To which he replied as his sentiment, that where the Indians were now assembled was their own Council Ground and on a path, that was not to be trod in but by warriors: and therefore, it was his opinion it would not be advisable. (MPHC, vol. 17, Expedition to Detroit, Friends Miscellany, 1793)
“In 1812, the total White population of the Territory was under 4,000, and mostly French. The Fur Trade was the leading industry” (Fowle).
The XY Company became the new Northwest Company, absorbed by it in 1804.
Leadership power shifted to warriors in the 1850s.
Chapter 4 continues next week.
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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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