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Author Topic: fur traders and early business men  (Read 236 times)
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« on: July 04, 2007, 01:22:35 PM »

The lakes between Minnesota and Ontario was one of the most important trade routes of that time along Grand Portage. It was called the  ,, Voyageur Highway ,,  . The first knowledge of the route came from the indians . Lateron pinetrees , cut and trimmed at a certain way , were use as indicaters for the route . It was necessary at certain locations to ,, shoot ,, the rapids . The Hudson Co. used portable canoes called  ,, Canot du maitre ,,  or  Montreal canoe.  Also used were so called rowed  ,, York boats ,,  first used in the 18th century downstream of the Albany river . Shortly after the fusion of the Northwest and the Hudson Bay co . in 1821 the York boats were replacing the birch canoes . The York boats also used sail where possible . Sail was used on Winnipeglake , Cedarlake around Isle de la crosse .It gave some rest after the heavy rowing .  Many York boats were built on the Saskatchewan river . What is important to us is the area in and downstream from the rapids . A few divers have been working these areas and came up with some interesting artifacts . It is worthwhile to do some more work in these areas . Nor for gold but for archaeological finds that will enhance our knowledge of the times .     Cornelius

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« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2007, 06:10:40 PM »

Canoe Manned by Voyageurs Passing a Waterfall (Ontario) painted by Frances Anne Hopkins in 1869

Grand Portage National Monument

Grand Portage National Monument, located within the boreal forest on the north shore of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota, preserves a vital center of fur trade activity and Anishinaabeg Ojibwe heritage.

The Grand Portage itself is a footpath which bypasses a set of waterfalls on the Pigeon River a few miles from where that stream runs into Lake Superior. This path is part of the historic trade route of the voyageurs between their wintering grounds and their depots to the east. This route, comprised of the Pigeon River and other waterways and Grand Portage and many other portages, was of enormous importance in pre-industrial times, as it provided access from the Canada's settled areas to its interior of Canada. Some 50 miles upstream from Lake Superior, this trade route crosses the Height of Land Portage connecting South Lake on the Pigeon River watershed with North Lake of the Rainy River watershed. This portage crosses the Northern Continental divide and therefore provides passage between the drainage basin of the Arctic Ocean and that of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.


As early as 2,000 years ago, Indian Nations probably used Kitchi Onigaming, or �the Great Carrying Place�, to travel from summer homes on Lake Superior to winter hunting grounds in the interior of Minnesota and Ontario. In 1729 Cree guide Auchagah drew a map for some of the first French fur traders showing them how to reach the "western sea" of Lake Winnipeg. In time, Grand Portage became the gateway into rich northern fur bearing country connecting remote interior outposts to lucrative international markets.

The Grand Portage trail itself is an 8 1/2 mile trail connecting Grand Portage with Fort Charlotte on the Pigeon River. Voyageurs from the interior of Canada would carry their furs by canoe to Fort Charlotte, and portage the bundles of fur to Grand Portage. There they would meet their counterparts from Montreal, and exchange the furs for trade goods and supplies. Each canoe "brigade" would then return to its starting place.

In mid-July 1802, partners of the most successful fur trade company in North America, the North West Company, met in their Great Hall at Grand Portage, Minnesota and voted to move their summer headquarters from the protected shores of Lake Superior�s Grand Portage Bay 50 miles north to the mouth of the Kaministiquia River. Almost from the time the Anglo-Scot Nor�Westers had organized at Grand Portage in the mid 1780s an emerging United States wanted them out. The July vote would mean that 18 buildings constructed from native squared spruce, pine and birch and over 2,000 cedar pickets surrounding them would be torn down, transported north in company schooners and used in constructing the new Fort William far from U.S. soil.

Reopened in 1951 as Grand Portage National Historic Site, designated a National Monument in 1958, its nearly 710 acres lying entirely within the boundaries of Grand Portage Ojibwe Indian Reservation, the reconstructed depot celebrates fur trade and Ojibwe lifeways. It was subsequently added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 05:13:09 AM »

Often enough we seem to focus only upon the Europeans in the fur trading business. Trade by it's very nature involves more than one party. It was a lucrative business for many Europeans, and likely for the fur producers also, to a certain point. Other aspects of the contact that came with, or followed fur trading proved not so beneficial for the fur producers. Many of the dozens of different tribes produced fur for trade. Who were they and what and how did they contribute to the fur trade? Here is some of the history of those tribes of the Great Lakes region. As will become apparent, the fur trade very much IS the early history of the US and Canada.



 The Ojibwe were the largest and most powerful Great Lakes tribe; perhaps the most powerful east of the Mississippi; and quite possibly the most powerful in North America. The Lakota (Sioux) and Apache have gotten better press, but it was the Ojibwe who defeated the Iroquois and forced the Sioux to leave Minnesota. Very few Americans realize that the Ojibwe were a major power. Their location was well north of the main flow of settlement, and their victories over native enemies have never received proper credit. A variety of names (Ojibwe, Chippewa, Bungee, Mississauga, and Saulteaux) and division of their population between Canada and United States has masked their true size. In addition, the Ojibwe never fought with Americans after 1815. Even before this, their participation in wars between Britain and France or fighting Americans in the Ohio Valley was fairly limited. Considering the prowess of Ojibwe warriors, this was probably just as well for the Americans. However, this does not mean they have been ignored by government. As the Chippewa, they signed more treaties with the United States than any other tribe � fifty-one! North of the border, the Ojibwe have "touched the pen" more than thirty times with the French, British, and Canadians.

   In a tradition shared with the Ottawa and Potawatomi, the Ojibwe remember a time when they lived near an ocean. This may have been the Atlantic near the gulf of the St. Lawrence, but more likely it was Hudson Bay. Sometime around 1400, the North America climate became colder, and the first Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi bands started to arrive on the east side of Lake Huron. The Ottawa remained at the mouth of the French River and Lake Huron islands, but the Ojibwe and Potawatomi continued northwest occupying the shoreline to the Mackinac Strait which separates upper and lower Michigan. By 1500 the Potawatomi had crossed into lower Michigan while the Ojibwe continued west to Lake Superior and Wisconsin's Apostle Islands. When the French had their first meeting the Saulteur in 1623, the Ojibwe were concentrated in the eastern half of upper Michigan.

   Through the fur trade and war, the Ojibwe after 1687 expanded to the east, south, and west. During their wars with the Iroquois, the Ojibwe pushed down both sides of Lake Huron and by 1701 controlled most of lower Michigan and southern Ontario. Following the French fur trade west during the 1720s, they moved beyond Lake Superior and into a war with the Dakota (Sioux) in 1737. During the next century, the Ojibwe forced the Dakota out of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin. Reaching Manitoba and North Dakota during the late 1700s, some bands adopted the plains lifestyle and continued west into Montana and Saskatchewan. At the same time, other Ojibwe moved south to settle in northern Illinois. By 1800 Ojibwe were living in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. No other tribe has ever come close to controlling so vast an area as the Ojibwe did at this time. White settlement ultimately took most of their land and forced them onto reservations, but with the exception of two small bands, the Ojibwe have remained in their homeland.

   Canada recognizes more than 600 First Nations - more than 130 of which are Ojibwe (at least in part). These are located in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

In the United States, 22 Chippewa groups have federal recognition.


   Bay Mills Indian Community of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of L'Anse of Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Lac Vieux Desert of Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Ontonagon Bands of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (Isabella)


   Minnesota Chippewa Nation of Minnesota (six bands): Boise Forte (Nett Lake), Fond du Lac, Grand Portage, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and White Earth. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of the Red Lake Reservation


Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy's Reservation

North Dakota

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians


(Some personal experience with the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. They are closely related, with the two rez's being about an hour's drive apart. They are a very handsome people, many are very tall/large, and intelligent. Most are receiving college educations today from proceeds from their tribe's casinos. It appears that they have a secure and promising future. - Bart)

   Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Sokoagon Chippewa Community - Mole Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, St. Croix Chippewa Indians

   Europeans came to the upper Great Lakes for fur, but after 200 years, this trade had ended. Most of the Ojibwe homeland had poor soil and a short growing season which did not attract settlement. Some whites came later for the minerals and timber, but even today, the area is not heavily populated. Because of this limited exposure, the Ojibwe have been able to retain much of their traditional culture and language. Most Americans have heard the Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha." Unfortunately, he got his tribes mixed. The name of Hiawatha was borrowed from the Iroquois, but the stories were Ojibwe. Most Ojibwe were classic Woodlands culture, but since different groups lived across such a wide area, there were major differences. Like all Native Americans, the Ojibwe adjusted to their circumstances. After reaching the northern plains, the Bungee (Plains Ojibwe) adopted the Buffalo culture and became very different from the other Ojibwe in their art, ceremony, and dress. Towards the southern part of their range in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Ojibwe villages were larger and permanent with the cultivation of corn, squash, beans, and tobacco.

   However, most Ojibwe lived in the northern Great Lakes with a short growing season and poor soil. They were hunter-gatherers who harvested wild rice and maple sugar. Woodland Ojibwe had no salt to preserve food and generally mixed everything with maple syrup as seasoning. They were skilled hunters and trappers (useful skills in war and the fur trade). Fishing, especially for sturgeon, provided much of their diet and became progressively more important in the northernmost bands. As a rule, Woodland Ojibwe rarely used horses or hunted buffalo. Dogs were the only domestic animal and a favorite dish served at their feasts. The Ojibwe used birchbark for almost everything: utensils, storage containers, and, most importantly, canoes. Coming in a variety of sizes depending on purpose, the birchbark canoe was lighter than the dugouts used by the Dakota (Sioux) and other tribes. Birchbark was also used to cover their elliptical, dome-shaped wigwams.. When a family moved, the covering of the wigwam was rolled up and taken along leaving only the framework.

   Summer clothing was buckskin with fur outer garments added for winter. The men wore breechcloths, but both sexes wore leggings. Moccasins were the distinctive puffed seamed style that gave Ojibwe their name. These were often colored with red, yellow, blue, and green, dyes made by the women. Long, cold winters were spent confined inside their wigwams also allowed time to add intricate quill and moose-hair designs. The Ojibwe often passed these times and entertained each other with stories, an art for which they are still renown. Generally, men and women wore their hair long and braided. In times of war, men might change to a scalplock. Ojibwe scalped, but as a rule they killed and did not torture. Like other Great Lakes warriors, there was ritual cannibalism of their dead enemies. Polygamy was rare. Their social organization was based on approximately 15-20 patrilineal clans which extended across band lines and provided their initial sense of tribal unity.

   Before contact, the clans and a common language were all that bound them to each other as the Anishinabe. The hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Ojibwe required they separate into small bands moving in a fixed pattern to take advantage of available resources. During winter, they separated into extended families in isolated hunting camps which allowed the men to cover a large area without competition from other hunters. During warmer months, they gathered in bands of 300-400 at known locations where fish, berries, and wild rice were abundant. There was little central organization, and the authority of hereditary Ojibwe chiefs before contact was limited and confined pretty much to his own band. Tribal councils occurred only when several bands made common cause in times of war but otherwise were rare. However, this, changed after the beginning of the fur trade with the French, and the different bands began merging.

   The Ojibwe were outstanding hunters and trappers. The colder weather in their homeland gave their beaver thicker coats resulting in a high quality fur. The Ojibwe became so heavily involved in the French fur trade their language became the unofficial trade language of the northern Great Lakes. Both the French and Ojibwe prospered as a result. The trade and weapons brought the Ojibwe wealth and power. At the same time, they became dependent on the French and trade goods. Because they handled the dealings with French traders, the authority of Ojibwe chiefs increased. Bands became larger and began to cooperate on a greater scale, especially during the Beaver Wars (1630-1700) with the Iroquois. Traditional ties between their clans added to the new sense of unity and purpose, but trade had also brought them their first experiences with European epidemics.

   Before contact, Ojibwe religion was similar to their political organization. There was little formal ceremony. For healing, they had relied on medicinal herbs gathered by the women and shamans. These were overwhelmed by the new diseases which were deadly beyond anything they had seen. What evolved was the Midewiwin (Grand Medicine Society), a secret religious society. Open to both men and women, its members performed elaborate healing ceremonies to deal with sickness. Among the Ojibwe, the Midewiwin kept records on birchbark scrolls, an actual written record unique among the Great Lakes tribes. Beyond its healing and religious functions, Midewiwin membership crossed band lines and provided an additional element of political leadership binding the different Ojibwe groups to each other. Within 50 years of their first meeting with a European, the Ojibwe had united to become one of the most powerful tribes in North America.


   The arrival of the Ojibwe at Sault Ste. Marie sometime around 1500 displaced several of the resident tribes. The Menominee were pushed south into an alliance with the Winnebago, and it would appear the Cheyenne and Arapaho started a series of movements which eventually would take them to the plains of Colorado. Continued Ojibwe expansion west along the shores of Lake Superior also brought them into conflict with the Dakota (Santee or Eastern Sioux) and Assiniboine at the western end. The date of the first meeting between the French and Ojibwe is uncertain, because the French at first did not distinguish between Ottawa and Ojibwe. Champlain is reported to have met some Ojibwe at the Huron villages in 1615. Three years later while exploring Lake Huron, �tienne Brul� went far enough north that the people should have been Ojibwe, but it was not until he reached the falls of the St. Marys River (Sault Ste. Marie) in 1623, we can be certain of a meeting between the Ojibwe and French.

   The journey from Quebec to the Huron villages on the south end of Lake Huron was long and dangerous, and the French and Jesuit priests stopped here allowing the Ottawa and Huron to conduct the fur trade farther west. The Ojibwe and their Ottawa neighbors had always been friendly, and since the Ojibwe had a lot of quality fur, the Ottawa did most of their trading with them. In this way, French trade goods and weapons reached the Ojibwe years before they had regular contact with the French themselves. Despite the hostilities already mentioned, the western Great Lakes were relatively peaceful before 1630, but the fur trade changed this. Fur traded for steel weapons allowed the Ojibwe to take hunting territory from other tribes. This gave them more fur to trade for more weapons to expand even farther. War with the Dakota and Winnebago became more intense, and when the Ottawa and Huron attempted to arrange trade with the Winnebago in 1633, the Winnebago killed the Ottawa ambassadors since their trade provided weapons to the Ojibwe.

   At the Huron villages, the French learned what had happened and, seeing the Huron and Ottawa prepare to retaliate, intervened to stop a war which might halt trade. In 1634 Jean Nicolet was sent west to the Winnebago villages at Green Bay to arrange a peace and possibly discover the Northwest Passage. Nicolet never found the passage but became the first European to enter Lake Michigan. He also succeeded in arranging a peace which lasted for several years and allowed the Huron and Ottawa to trade along Lake Michigan. Nicollet returned to Green Bay in 1639, and must have met with some Ojibwe enroute, but there was little mention of them until the Jesuit Relations of 1640. The following year, the Ojibwe accepted a Huron invitation to visit their villages during the Feast of the Dead providing the first opportunity for Jesuits to meet the Saulteur (people of the rapids).

   Fathers Charles Raymbault and Issac Jogues accepted an Ojibwe invitation to accompany them on their 17-day return journey to Sault Ste. Marie. The Jesuits did not stay but during the visit learned the Ojibwe already lived as far west as Chequamegon (La Pointe WS) and were fighting with a powerful enemy at the west end of Lake Superior whom they called the Nadouessioux (rattlesnakes). Over the years, the French would shorten this name until it became "Sioux." Despite the peace arranged by Nicollet, the fur trade turned the Great Lakes into a war zone. The Beaver Wars (1630-1700) began in the east but soon spread to the Great Lakes. The British capture of Quebec in 1629 halted the flow of French trade goods, and the Iroquois (supplied by the Dutch) took advantage of this and attacked the Algonkin and Montagnais to recapture the upper St. Lawrence River which they had been forced to abandon in 1610. The French did not regain control of Quebec until 1632, and by then their native allies were in serious trouble.

   Trying to restore a balance of power and protect the trade route through the Ottawa Valley, the French broke a long-standing rule and began to supply firearms to the Algonkin and Montagnais. This turned the tide only briefly, since the Dutch started selling guns to the Iroquois. The result was an arms race and greater violence. The Huron and Ottawa also received firearms from the French, and some of these weapons were traded to the Neutrals and Tionontati. All this new armament arrived just as beaver were becoming scarce in southern Ontario from supplying the French. Huron, Ottawa, Neutral, and Tionontati hunters solved this by moving into lower Michigan and using their new weapons to take territory from the Assistaeronon, or Fire Nation (an alliance of Fox, Sauk, Mascouten, and Potawatomi). Although the French were aware of what was happening, they made no attempt to stop it.

   During the 1640s, the advantage of steel and firearms over traditional weapons began to dislodge the resident tribes in lower Michigan. After a ten-day siege in 1641, 2,000 Ottawa and Neutral warriors destroyed a major Assistaeronon village. That same year, the first groups of Potawatomi refugees attempted to relocate near Green Bay, but the hostile reception they received from the Winnebago forced them to retreat north to the protection of the Ojibwe. Within a few years, there would more Michigan refugees in Wisconsin than Winnebago could handle, and the Potawatomi settled near Green Bay unopposed. During the same period, the Ojibwe defeated the Mundua who lived in the northern part of lower Michigan and absorbed the survivors. They also combined with the Ottawa to drive the Assegun (Bone) from Michilimackinac (Mackinac) into lower Michigan where they apparently found refuge with, and became part of, the Mascouten.

   The French allies and trading partners started the process of forcing the original tribes from lower Michigan, but they never got to complete it. Facing a similar shortage of beaver in their homeland from trading with the Dutch, the Iroquois during the 1630s needed to find new hunting territory but were hemmed in by powerful enemies. Diplomatic requests to the Huron for permission to pass through their territory to hunt were refused. The Huron were aware of the Iroquois predicament but had no wish to help a potential rival. After the Huron killed an Iroquois hunting party in disputed territory, war erupted between the Iroquois and Huron. At first, the Huron held their own, but a series of epidemics struck them killing half of their population. During 1640 British traders from New England attempted to break the Dutch monopoly with the Mohawk by offering firearms. The Dutch responded by selling the Iroquois any amount of weapons they wanted. The Iroquois became the best-armed military force in North America.

   Driving the Algonkin from the lower Ottawa River, the Iroquois cut the French trade route from the Great Lakes. Large parties could force their way past the Iroquois blockade, but the amount of fur reaching Montreal dropped off to almost nothing. By 1645 the French were forced to agree to a peace with the Mohawk which required them to remain neutral in the Huron-Iroquois conflict. The Huron still refused to allow the Iroquois to hunt in their territory and continued forcing their way to Montreal with their furs. War resumed with the Iroquois making direct attacks against the Huron villages. The Huron were overrun in 1649, and later that year, the Tionontati, Algonkin, and Nipissing suffered similar fates. The survivors fled west to the Ojibwe and Ottawa at Mackinac. Iroquois war parties followed, and in 1651 the Huron-Tionontati (Wyandot) and Ottawa relocated west to Green Bay. The Iroquois by this time had destroyed the Neutrals and were preparing for a war with the Erie in northern Ohio.

   To assure success, the western Iroquois (Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga) in 1653 offered peace to the French. With less than 400 French in North America versus 25,000 Iroquois, there was little choice. The truce allowed the Iroquois, not only to fight the Erie that year, but send 800 warriors against the refugee villages at Green Bay. The attack failed when the Iroquois ran out of food and were forced to retreat. Unfortunately for the Iroquois, they had also attacked the Nikikouek Ojibwe on the north shore of Lake Huron. The Mississauga killed almost half of them during their retreat to New York marking the beginning of Ojibwe involvement in the Beaver Wars. Iroquois raids continued, but unlike their other enemies, the Ojibwe did not fold and run. Instead, they gave ground slowly and began to concentrate near Sault Ste. Marie. To defend themselves, the Ojibwe began to organize and merge, and although they probably did not realize it at the time, the Iroquois had created a dangerous enemy.

   This did not happen over-night. The Iroquois defeated the Erie and then drove the remaining Algonquin from lower Michigan. The sudden arrival of so many refugees not only overwhelmed the Wisconsin tribes, but also the resources. Most of this area was too far north for reliable agriculture. Disorganized and starving, the Algonquin were fighting among themselves over hunting and fishing territory. The Sturgeon War began when the Menominee built a series of weirs at their village near the mouth of the river. However, this prevented sturgeon from reaching the Ojibwe villages upstream. Demands to remove the weirs were ignored, and the Ojibwe attacked and destroyed the village. Too few to retaliate, the Menominee called on the Fox, Sauk, Potawatomi, and Noquet at Green Bay for help spreading the fighting well-beyond the original participants.

   The French fur trade was almost destroyed by the Huron defeat in 1649. To maintain their fragile peace with the Iroquois, the French halted their travel to the Great Lakes, but they still encouraged their former allies to bring furs to Montreal. With the Iroquois occupying much of southern Ontario and controlling the Ottawa Valley, this was dangerous and possible only for large, heavily-armed canoe convoys. Despite the risk, the Ottawa and Huron were accustomed to French trade goods and willing to try. Lacking enough warriors, they enlisted the Ojibwe near Sault Ste. Marie. The French at this time made no distinction between the Algonquin bringing furs to Montreal and called everyone an Ottawa, but many of these were Ojibwe. This did not go unnoticed by the Iroquois who had their own ambitions of controlling the French trade as they already did with the Dutch. To stop the convoys, Iroquois went to their source, and their war parties roamed through Wisconsin attacking just about everyone. Because of this (and very few beaver), the Wyandot left Green Bay in 1658 and moved west to Lake Pepin on the Mississippi River. Having established trade with the Cree to the north, most of the Ottawa also withdrew and relocated near the Ojibwe at Chequamegon and Keweenaw on the south side of Lake Superior.

   The peace between French and Iroquois came to a violent end in 1658. Seeing opportunity in this, Pierre Radisson, M�dart Chouart des Groseilliers, and Father R�n� M�nard ignored the ban on travel and joined the Wyandot on their return journey to the west. The first French to reach Lake Superior, their guides took them to Chequamegon (La Pointe) where they wintered with the Ottawa and Ojibwe. M�nard wandered off into the woods and may have been killed by the Dakota. This failed to discourage the others who travelled overland to trade with the Dakota. For their efforts to restore the fur trade (and enrich themselves), Radisson and Des Groseilliers were arrested when they got back to Quebec in 1660. Now aware of the value of fur, the Dakota did not want to share their beaver with the Wyandot on the Mississippi. After several threats, the Wyandot left Lake Pepin in 1661 and joined the Ottawa at Chequamegon. The Dakota were still not pleased by this large gathering of beaver hunters on their border, but tolerated it for the moment.

   The Iroquois, however, saw a chance to strike their enemies who were now gathered in one place, but to reach them, they would have to pass undetected through Ojibwe territory. They tried and paid dearly. The Saulteur, Amikoue, Nipissing, and Ottawa in 1662 surprised a large Mohawk and Oneida war party (100 warriors) just west of Sault Ste. Marie and annihilated them. Known today as Iroquois Point, the Ojibwe still call this "the place of Iroquois bones." The Iroquois never again attempted raids into Lake Superior, and behind a wall of Ojibwe warriors, the Ottawa and Wyandot had a refuge from which to collect furs to trade to the French. Meanwhile, back on the St. Lawrence, the French had tired of living in constant fear of the Iroquois. Up to this point, settlement and the fur trade had been a private commercial venture, but this changed after the British captured New York from the Dutch. Charters were revoked in 1664, and the king assumed control of Quebec. France also sent a regiment of soldiers to Canada which began direct attacks on the Iroquois homeland.

   This ultimately pushed the Iroquois into a military alliance with the British beginning the 100-year struggle between Britain and France for North America. It also brought great changes for the Ojibwe and Great Lakes. No longer concerned with antagonizing the Iroquois, the French resumed travel to the west. In 1665 fur trader Nicolas Perot, Jesuit Claude-Jean Allouez, and 6 other French accompanied 400 Ottawa and Wyandot on their return journey. Fighting their way past Iroquois along the Ottawa River, they reached Green Bay. Allouez went on to Chequamegon where he encountered a mixed population of Wyandot, Ottawa, Ojibwe plus a few Potawatomi and Kickapoo. He remained there and built the mission of St. Esprit for Huron and Ottawa converts the Jesuits had made before the disaster of 1649. By 1667 French attacks on their homeland had forced the Iroquois to agree to a peace which also extended to French allies and trading partners.

   For the next thirteen years, this much-needed peace permitted the French to visit the Great Lakes unopposed. Beside fur traders, Jesuit missionaries came also. In 1668 Allouez was joined by the Father Jacques Marquette. The conditions they found in Wisconsin and upper Michigan were appalling - starvation, epidemic, and constant warfare. Raising corn on the south shore of Lake Superior was almost impossible, even for farming tribes like the Ottawa and Wyandot, and starvation stalked them almost every winter. Some years they were reduced to eating their own moccasins when the food ran out. Meanwhile, over-hunting for food and fur was creating a war with the Dakota to the west. For purposes of both conversion and trade (although these would soon be in conflict), it was in the French interest to bring order to the region. To end warfare, the French became mediators in intertribal disputes. This role was formalized in 1671 by treaty at the Grand Council held at Sault. Ste. Marie, in which Simon Daumont annexed the entire Great Lakes for France.

   In the meantime, Father Marquette was able to convince the Wyandot and Ottawa to leave Chequamegon in 1669 and relocate to Mackinac near his new mission at St. Ignace. Both the move and annexation were premature. The Seneca attacked and burned St. Ignace and the nearby villages in 1671, but the mission was rebuilt, and Wyandot and Ottawa stayed. Their departure left only the Ojibwe and Dakota confronting each other along the south shore of Lake Superior. Smallpox hit Sault Ste. Marie during the winter of 1670-71 reducing the original Saulteur at Bawating to less than 200, but the loss had little effect on the Ojibwe. Small bands such as the Amikwa, Nikikouek, and Marameg merged with the survivors, and the Ojibwe of upper Michigan continued to grow in size and influence. Jesuits made few conversions among the Ojibwe, but in the French fur trade, they became extremely important.

   Before 1670, the Ottawa had gotten much of their fur from the Cree, but the British established their first posts on Hudson Bay that year. Able for the first time to trade directly without a middleman, the Cree began taking their fur to the British, and the Ottawa had lost their main supplier. The Ojibwe stepped in to fill the void and, with French encouragement, began expanding west along both shores of Lake Superior. The movement along the northern shore blocked British access to other Great Lakes tribes and brought skirmishes with the Assiniboine and Cree alliance which traded with the British. However, it was the expansion along the south shore which produced the most trouble. It not only started a war between the Ojibwe and Dakota, but fighting with the Fox who were also competing for hunting territory in the area.

   Daniel DeLhut (Duluth) arrived at Sault Ste. Marie in 1678 and two years later negotiated a truce between the Saulteur and Sioux. He also was able to arrange a peace between the Dakota and Assiniboine. This second one did not last, but the Saulteur and Dakota agreement endured for some time, and fur flowed east to Montreal in unprecedented amounts. Despite a second smallpox epidemic at Sault Ste. Marie in 1681, the Ojibwe and Ottawa by 1685 were supplying over 2/3 of the French fur trade. Unfortunately, the 1680 treaties did include all of the Ojibwe. The Saulteur signed, but the Keweenaw Ojibwe remained at war and joined forces with the Fox to defeat a large Dakota war party. The Saulteur, of course did nothing against their Keweenaw relatives, but they formed an alliance with the Dakota against the Fox. Neither the Keweenaw nor the Fox wanted the French to trade with the Dakota, and to prevent this, Menominee and Ojibwe warriors of chief Achiganaga murdered two French traders in upper Michigan in 1682.

   DeLhut brought the culprits in for a European-style trial, but the Saulteur and Ottawa intervened on behalf of Achiganaga. In the end, DeLhut was only able to execute a single Menominee (a small tribe) rather than offend the Ojibwe, an important ally and trading partner. He really had no other choice, because the French at the time needed the Ojibwe. Peace in the Great Lakes ended in 1680 when the Iroquois began a series of devastating attacks against the Illinois. At first, the fighting was confined to the south, but in 1683 the Seneca brought the war north with an attack on Mackinac. The following year, the Iroquois failed in their attempt to take Fort St. Louis on the upper Illinois River which is generally regarded as the turning point of the Beaver Wars. Afterwards, the French attempted to organize an Algonquin alliance against the Iroquois, but its first offensive was such a fiasco, Joseph La Barre, the governor of Canada, signed a treaty with the Iroquois conceding most of Illinois.

   He was replaced by Jacques-Rene Denonville who renounced La Barre's treaty, built new forts, strengthened old ones, and provided guns to the Ojibwe and other Algonquin. A much stronger alliance took the offensive in 1687. Largely ignored because it coincided with the King William's War between Britain and France (1688-97), this was one of the critical events in North American history. By 1690 Algonquin victories in massive battles fought between canoe fleets on Lakes St. Clair and Erie had driven the Iroquois from lower Michigan allowing the Ottawa to return to their old homes on Manitoulin Island. The Ojibwe pushed much farther, occupying not only their former lands on the north and east shore of Lake Huron, but continued south taking the western shore in lower Michigan as far south as Saginaw Bay, while the Mississauga seized the old homelands of the Neutrals, Tionontati and Huron in southern Ontario. By 1696 the Iroquois had abandoned most of their villages in southern Ontario and, except for eastern Ohio and northern Pennsylvania, were pretty much confined to their original homeland.

   The victories in the west belonged entirely to Algonquin warriors. The French helped with attacks against the Iroquois homeland from Quebec. In the Great Lakes their contribution was arms, ammunition, and keeping the alliance together. Providing weapons was the easy part. The alliance included the Ojibwe, Ottawa, Wyandot, Potawatomi, Missisauga, Fox, Sauk, Miami, Winnebago, Menominee, Kickapoo, Illinois, and Mascouten. All agreed the Iroquois were an enemy, but not all of them liked each other which kept the French very busy. The three-way war between the Ojibwe, Dakota, and Fox along the St. Croix in northwest Wisconsin continued until the French finally managed a Ojibwe-Fox truce in 1685. This lasted five years, during which time the Fox attempted to block French trade with the Dakota by charging tolls on traders passing through their territory. This exasperated Nicolas Perot, the French commandant at Green Bay, and in 1690 he asked the Ojibwe to make the Fox stop this. They did much more than this. Allied with the Dakota, the Ojibwe drove the Fox from the St. Croix Valley.

   French influence over the Algonquin alliance came mainly from control of trade goods on which their allies were dependent. During the first years of the war, the French opened more trading posts. Despite hostilities, the amount of fur reaching Montreal increased as the French and Algonquin drove the Iroquois east. In fact, there was so much fur it created a glut on the European market, and the price fell. This had immediate effect on the ability of the French to control their allies. Native Americans understood little about economic laws of supply and demand. The price drop in Europe meant French traders in North America suddenly were giving native hunters fewer goods for the same amount of fur, and this was perceived as greed. Relations were already strained when warfare broke out during the 1690s over hunting territory along the upper Mississippi between the Dakota and an alliance of Ojibwe, Potawatomi, Fox, Kickapoo and Mascouten.

   The warriors involved in this would have been better used against the Iroquois, but as trade goods became fewer and more expensive, the French were losing control. The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 ended the war between Britain and France, but fighting between the Algonquin and Iroquois continued. Nearing collapse, the Iroquois asked for peace to which the French - concerned continued fighting could bring another war with the British (Iroquois allies) - were receptive. But their allies, sensing blood, were not interested. Since the Iroquois had already made offers of peace and trade to the Ottawa and Ojibwe if they would leave the alliance, there was also fear the French would abandon their allies and make a separate peace. Using every diplomatic skill available, it took the French until 1701 to convince the Algonquin to agree to a peace with the Iroquois. With this, the Beaver Wars ended with France in control of the Great Lakes, and the Ojibwe occupying lands from the northern side of Lakes Erie and Ontario to the west end of Lake Superior.

   The French then proceeded to throw away their victory. For many years, Jesuit missionaries had complained about the corruption which the fur trade was creating among Native Americans. These protests fell upon deaf ears, especially after Louis XIV's dispute with Rome began in 1673. However, when the price of fur dropped and profits plunged, the French monarchy suddenly got "religion" and in 1696 issued a decree suspending the fur trade in the western Great Lakes. What appeared to the government in Paris as a practical decision, was disaster to the French in North America. As posts closed and official trade ended, Coureurs de Bois (illegal and unlicensed traders) attempted to take up the slack. Many were honest, but most were not, and their abuse and dishonesty added to the tension. The French in 1701 negotiated another truce between the Saulteur and Dakota ending fighting which had occurred since the 1690s, but the Algonquin in Wisconsin still opposed French sales of firearms to the Dakota. French traders enroute to Dakota villages were robbed and murdered, and even the highly respected Nicholas Perot found himself tied to a Mascouten torture stake ready to be burned alive. Saved by the Kickapoo, Perot went back to Quebec and never returned to the Great Lakes.

   Under the 1701 treaty, the Iroquois were required to remain neutral in British-French wars and consult the French if there were any conflicts with their allies. The Mississauga must not have heard this, because they continued to attack the remaining Iroquois villages in southern Ontario. Iroquois complaints to Onontio (their name for French governor of Canada) went unanswered, mostly because the French were occupied with fighting the British in the Queen Anne's War (1701-13). True to their word, the Iroquois remained neutral in this conflict, but it was neutrality only in the military sense. Using their ties to British traders at Albany, they offered trade to French allies and began an economic war which almost destroyed the French.

   Since British trade goods were of higher quality and cheaper than anything the French could offer, Ojibwe and Ottawa traders were soon taking most of their furs to Albany. By 1707 the Missisauga had moved near Niagara Falls, not to fight, but to trade. Without native allies, Canada was vulnerable to British invasion. Urgent requests were sent from Quebec to Paris, and in 1701 the French government relented by allowing the construction of single trading post at Detroit for the Great Lakes Algonquin. The responsibility was given to Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, the commandant at Mackinac, who despised Jesuits in general and blamed their meddling for the suspension of the fur trade. Cadillac built Fort Ponchartrain and took great delight in inviting the Ottawa, Wyandot, and Ojibwe to settle nearby for trade. So many left Mackinac, the Jesuits were forced to close their mission at St. Ignace.

   The Ottawa, Ojibwe, and Wyandot settled in the vicinity of Detroit, but the jostling for territory brought skirmishes between the Ottawa and Ojibwe who normally were on the best of terms. Worse things would follow. Cadillac ignored this ominous sign and, to keep them from trading with the British, invited other tribes to move nearby. Within a short time, more than 6,000 Saulteur, Saginaw, and Missisauga Ojibwe, Wyandot, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Miami, Illinois, and even Osage relocated to Detroit completely overwhelming the area's resources. During 1706 there were fights between the Ottawa and Miami, but the final straw occurred in 1710 when Cadillac invited the Fox. About 1,000 Fox arrived bringing with them many of their Kickapoo and Mascouten allies. Already antagonistic to the French from their experiences in Wisconsin, the Fox were returning to what had been their homeland before the Beaver Wars. They were not at all shy about letting other tribes know this, and in the tense situation which prevailed, the other alliance tribes demanded the French order the Fox to return to Wisconsin.

   The French delayed a decision, and during the winter of 1711-12, the Ottawa and Potawatomi took matters into their own hands by attacking a Mascouten hunting party near the headwaters of St. Joseph River. The Mascouten fled east to their Fox allies at Detroit. As the Fox prepared to retaliate, the French commander at Fort Ponchartrain ordered them to stop. At this point, the Fox had had just about enough, and they attacked the French fort. In the midst of this, a relief force of Ojibwe, Ottawa, Huron, and Potawatomi arrived and almost annihilated the Fox. A few escaped and found refuge with the Iroquois. The others made their way back to their relatives in Wisconsin who retaliated by attacking the French and their allies. The Fox Wars (1712-16 and 1728-37) were actually a civil war within the French alliance. To fight the Fox and their Kickapoo and Mascouten allies, the French first had to rebuild the alliance.

   They started with the Detroit tribes, but there were other problems. After the establishment of Fort Ponchartrain in 1701, many of the refugee tribes had left Wisconsin and moved east. This relieved the crowding, but the area had been over-hunted for many years, and as the Ojibwe ranged south from Lake Superior, there was renewed competition for hunting territory. The peace the French had arranged in 1701 between the Saulteur and Dakota allowed these two tribes to combine against the remaining Algonquin, and in 1711 the Saulteur were at war with the tribes near Green Bay. To the south, the Miami were fighting the Illinois. It took the French some time to organize enough allies to fight the Fox, but in 1715 the Potawatomi defeated the Kickapoo and Mascouten causing them to sign a separate peace with the French. Despite the loss of their allies, the Fox refused to quit.

   The following year, the French mediated the dispute between the Ojibwe and Green Bay tribes allowing the Ojibwe and Potawatomi to join a French expedition against the Fox in southern Wisconsin. However, this failed to take the Fox fort, and the French offered peace to the Fox. The Fox accepted, but both parties were still angry and distrusted each other. The Fox continued to annoy the French by becoming involved in a long and bitter war with the Illinois. At the same time west of the Mississippi, they were also fighting with the Osage which disrupted the developing French trade along the Missouri River. To fight both of these wars, the Fox formed alliances with the Dakota, Kickapoo, Iowa, Mascouten, and Winnebago which the French suspected were directed against themselves. In the meantime, the Iroquois had been watching this fighting among their enemies with a certain amount of glee and, by offering access to British traders, continued to make inroads into French trade in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

   It took the Fox Wars for the French in Canada to convince their government in Paris that the suspension of the fur trade in the Great Lakes had been a terrible mistake, and they moved rapidly to correct things. Coureurs de Bois were legalized in 1715; their frequent intermarriage with native women (especially Ojibwe and Cree) eventually created a new group of mixed-blooded people that known as the M�tis. They also reoccupied old posts and created new ones: La Baye, Chequamegon, Credit River, Des Chartes, La Pointe, Miami, Mackinac, Ouiatenon, Niagara, Pimitoui, St. Joseph, and Vincennes. But the damage had already been done. During 1717 the Saginaw Ojibwe and Ottawa had started trading with the British. Fort Oswego was built in the Iroquois homeland during 1727 to shorten the distance the Algonquin had to travel to reach the Albany traders. By 1728, 80% of the beaver on the Albany market had come from French allies.

   Meanwhile, the Fox had continued to be a major problem for everyone, and the French were under increasing pressure from their allies to do something. French expeditions to support the Illinois against the Fox ended in frustration. The first suggestion of genocide was made in 1727, but this was not official policy until approved by the king 1732. The French first took the precaution to isolate the Fox from their Dakota and Winnebago allies and by 1728 were ready to strike. The Fox added to this by killing some of the Kickapoo and Mascouten after an argument, and the Kickapoo and Mascouten went over to the French. Under attack from all sides, the Fox accepted an offer of sanctuary from the Iroquois and left Wisconsin. Crossing northern Illinois in 1730, they became involved in fighting with the Illinois and were forced to fort up. This allowed the French to bring forces against them from all direction including Saginaw and Mackinac Ojibwe. When the Fox attempted to escape the siege, they were caught and massacred.

   All that remained were the Fox who had chosen to remain in Wisconsin. They fled to the Sauk at Green Bay. The Sauk asked the French to make peace with the Fox, but this was refused. In 1734 a French expedition with Menominee and Ojibwe warriors arrived at the Sauk village to demand the surrender of the Fox. The Sauk refused, and during the ensuing battle the French commander was killed. In the confusion,the Fox and Sauk escaped west into eastern Iowa. The French attacked them again in 1736 without success, but by this time the French allies had lost their desire to "eat the Fox" and began urging the French to make peace. Faced with the rebellion of their allies, a war against the Natchez and Chickasaw on the lower Mississippi, and an uprising by the Dakota in Minnesota, the French reluctantly agreed. One of the largest Great Lakes tribes prior to contact, fewer than 500 Fox remained in 1737.

   The Dakota uprising against the French in 1737 had been building for many years and would be the beginning of 130 years of continuous warfare between the Ojibwe and Dakota. There were hostilities between these two tribes before the first European saw the Great Lakes, but this had been low-level compared to what the fur trade created. Despite their close relationship with the Ojibwe, the French had been eager to trade with the Dakota. This frequently got them in trouble with their Algonquin allies who had no wish to see the Dakota either rich or well-armed. Competition from the British trading posts on Hudson Bay after 1670 only added to the French effort, and they encouraged Ojibwe expansion west along the northern shore of Lake Superior. This brought the Ojibwe into conflict with the Assiniboine who were allied with the Cree, the primary trading partner of the British at Hudson Bay. Although closely related, the Assiniboine were enemies of the Dakota, and it was the fact the Dakota and Ojibwe had mutual enemies which allowed DuLhut in 1680 to negotiate the peace between them.

   It was, of course, an unnatural arrangement between two people who really did not like each other, and it was not accepted by all of the Ojibwe, most notably the Keweenaw. As a result, the French were kept busy during the next thirty years stopping the warfare which erupted periodically. In this, the Fox had been the third competitor for hunting territory at the west end of Lake Superior. The near annihilation of the Fox during the Fox Wars removed them from the picture leaving the Ojibwe and Dakota to face just each other. French traders had begun regular trade with the Dakota at Fond du Lac (Duluth) as early as 1712 and, for the most part, were bringing the Ojibwe with them. A post (and Ojibwe village) was established in 1717 at Thunder Bay, and by 1727 they reaching west to the Pigeon River from Grand Portage to Rainey Lake and Lake of the Woods to the Red River, Lake Winnipeg, and the northern plains. Pierre V�rendrye built Fort St. Pierre at Rainy Lake in 1731, Fort St. Charles at Lake of the Woods in 1732, and Fort Maurepas (Pembina) in 1734.

   By this time, the Ojibwe had ended their hostilities with the Cree and Assiniboine, but the Dakota had not. With the Ojibwe neutral in these conflicts, their friendship was of less use to the Dakota. In addition, Ojibwe had used up most of the beaver on their own lands supplying the French. This forced them to rely more on hunting territory shared peacefully with the Dakota and to look with a jealous eye on the fur and rice lakes the Dakota had in Minnesota. The Dakota became increasingly disturbed by the heavy Ojibwe hunting, but the explosion came in 1736 when V�rendrye attempted to lure the Cree and Assiniboine away from the British by selling them firearms. The Dakota would not tolerate the French arming their enemies and attacked Fort St. Charles killing 21 Frenchmen (including V�rendrye's son). Perhaps more for their own reasons than to avenge the French, the Ojibwe swore revenge, formed an alliance with the Cree and Assiniboine, and attacked the Dakota villages on Lake Pepin on the Mississippi.

   French traders at La Pointe tried to halt the fighting, but this had been coming for years, and neither the Dakota nor the Ojibwe would listen. Starting from Chequamegon (La Pointe), the Pillager Band began an invasion of the Dakota homeland. The initial movement was inland towards Lac Courte Oreilles and Lac Flambeau to take northern Wisconsin. From there they spread west into Minnesota to attack the center of the Dakota world, Mille Lacs. Allied with the Cree and Assiniboine, the Ojibwe at the same time advanced west from Thunder Bay up the Rainey River portage dislodging the Dakota from what is now the border of Minnesota and Ontario. Following the three-day battle at Kathio in 1750, the Dakota abandoned most of their villages in northern Minnesota (Mille Lacs, Sandy Lake, Red Lake, Leech Lake, Cass Lake, and Lake Winnebegosh) and retreated south. By 1780 there was not a single Dakota village north of the Minnesota River.

   Since it occurred far from any white settlements, this epic struggle went largely unnoticed by Europeans. Their attention was focused on the confrontation between Britain and France for North America. The French had things pretty much their own way in the upper Great Lakes, especially after the Ojibwe victory over the Dakota, and were making their initial forays onto the plains. But back in the eastern Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, British and Iroquois traders were cutting into French trade. The Mississauga and Saginaw Ojibwe were taking most of their furs to Oswego, and after the Iroquois allowed British traders to enter the Ohio country, the Miami and Wyandot joined the defectors. South of the Ohio, the British had found an ally in the Chickasaw who often blocked the Mississippi to French trade, and which no combination of the French and their allies seemed able to defeat. By the beginning of the King George's War (1744-48), the infection had spread to the Choctaw, the most important French ally on the lower Mississippi.

   There was almost no fighting between the Britain and France west of the Appalachians during this conflict, but the trade competition continued unabated. The Ojibwe and other Great Lakes tribes participated by sending warriors east to defend Quebec from a British invasion. The major victory in this war occurred in 1745 when the British captured the French fortress at Louisbourgh. This enabled them to blockade the St. Lawrence River and cut the supply of French trade goods. Without these, the French alliance collapsed. The Miami and Wyandot broke with the French and began to trade openly with the British. French traders were murdered, and the Fox, Sauk, and Mackinac Ojibwe were fighting with the Detroit tribes (Ottawa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi). Meanwhile, the Mississauga in southern Ontario were calling for a revolt against the French and alliance with British. When the war ended in 1748, the French rushed around with gifts and mediating disputes, but the unrest persisted.

   In 1749 a conspiracy developed among the Saginaw Ojibwe, Ottawa, Wyandot, and Miami to trade with the British, and by 1752 even the Illinois were secretly organizing a coalition for this purpose. Meanwhile, large numbers of Shawnee, Delaware, and Mingo (independent Iroquois descended from adopted Huron and Erie) had settled in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio during the 1740s. Referred to collectively as the Ohio tribes, these newcomers were nominally members of the Iroquois Covenant Chain, but they had come west in defiance of the League's authority. Nevertheless, it suited them to trade with the British and honor the Iroquois claims to Ohio, if for no other reason than to counter French claims to the same area. In 1751 Chabert de Joncaire travelled through Ohio demanding the expulsion of British traders only to have the Mingo demand to know by what authority the French were claiming Iroquois land.

   Unable to win over the Ohio tribes, the French in 1751 asked the Detroit tribes to attack them and expel the British traders. Using the smallpox epidemic which swept the area that year as an excuse, they declined, but it appears they were considering going over to the British themselves. Desperate, the French had to reach to the north for reliable allies. Charles Langlade, a M�tis of French-Ojibwe heritage, gathered a war party of 250 Ojibwe and Ottawa at Mackinac and led them south in June, 1752 to attack the Miami village and British trading post at Pickawillany (Piqua, Ohio). One British trader was killed and five captured along with �3000 of trade goods. Thirty Miami were also killed in the attack including their chief, Memeskia (called La Demoiselle by the French and Old Britain by the British). Langlade's warriors afterwards boiled his body and ate it. Other French allies abandoned whatever thoughts they had of trading with the British. The Wyandot renewed attacks on Chickasaw that fall, and in 1753, the Miami, Potawatomi, and Sauk apologized to the French and returned the alliance.

   With their alliance intact, the French began construction of string of forts across western Pennsylvania to block British access. The Ohio tribes appealed to the Iroquois who turned to the British. Virginia also claimed Ohio as a result of a questionable 1744 treaty with the Iroquois. In 1753 it sent a 23-year-old militia major named George Washington to demand the French remove their forts from "British territory." The French refused, and during a second mission to the area in 1754, Washington got into a fight with French soldiers and started the French and Indian War (1755-63). Determined to destroy the French forts, the British in 1755 assembled a large army under General Edward Braddock to capture Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh). Since they had no desire to be dominated by either the French or British, the Shawnee, Delaware and Mingo remained neutral and refused to help the French defend the fort.

   This forced the French to bring in warriors from Canada and western Great Lakes. Langlade and his Mackinac Ojibwe once again played an important part in the ambush which almost annihilated Braddock's command. The war moved east after this, and Ojibwe warriors went to Montreal to participate in French campaigns at Lake Champlain in northern New York. It was during these the Ojibwe contracted smallpox in 1757 which they brought back to their villages that winter. The resulting epidemic took many of the Great Lakes tribes out of the war, but the Ojibwe war chief Mamongesseda and his warriors fought at Quebec in 1759. The French were finished after the fall of Quebec. Montreal surrendered in 1760, and British soldiers took over the French forts across the Great Lakes with the Rangers of Major Robert Rogers occupying Mackinac.

   Perhaps because they had traded with them for so many years, the Mississauga were the only Ojibwe to readily accept British rule. With the general breakdown of authority preceding the French defeat, the Mackinac Ojibwe in 1761 were on the verge of war with the Menominee and Winnebago. The British slipped into the old French role of mediator, but, while the agreement they negotiated ingratiated them to the Menominee and Winnebago, it aggravated the Ojibwe who remained hostile and dangerous. Meanwhile, the British commander in North America, Lord Jeffrey Amherst chose to ignore the advice of the British Indian commissioner William Johnson and ended the practice of making annual presents to tribal chiefs. This was taken as an insult. To make matters worse, Amherst raised the prices on trade goods and restricted their supply, particularly firearms and gunpowder. By 1761 the Seneca were circulating a war belt calling for a general uprising against the British.

   Only the Delaware and Shawnee responded, but William Johnson discovered the plot during a meeting at Detroit with the tribes of the old French alliance. However, this did not prevent Minavavana, representing the Mackinac Ojibwe at this meeting, from complaining that the lack of presents was undermining the chiefs' authority. It also undermined British authority. During 1761 the Miami, Ottawa, Ojibwe, Potawatomi almost went to war against Shawnee, and the following year Fox warriors killed the important Ojibwe chief, Grand Saulteur. Drought hit the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes during the summer of 1762 followed by famine that winter. In the midst of this suffering, the prophet Neolin arose among the Delaware urging the tribes to reject their dependence on trade goods (especially alcohol) and return to their traditional values. His most important convert was Pontiac, the Ottawa chief at Detroit (his mother was an Ojibwe).

   An important French ally in the old alliance, Pontiac interpreted Neolin's return to traditional values to mean getting rid of the British and bringing back the French. To this end, he began secretly organizing the Pontiac Conspiracy. When it struck in May of 1763, the British lost eight of their twelve forts west of the Appalachians. The Saginaw joined Pontiac's attack on Detroit while the Mississauga helped the Seneca to besiege Fort Niagara. At Fort Mackinac, word of the uprising had not reached its garrison by the time of the King's birthday on June 4th. The Ojibwe used a lacrosse game to lull the soldiers into false security while the warriors assembled as spectators and participants. Suddenly, the ball was launched towards the gates of the fort, and grabbing weapons hidden under the blankets of their women, the warriors rushed in and overwhelmed the garrison. Sixteen soldiers were killed outright, but the French were not harmed. A Jesuit priest and Charles Langlade intervened to save twelve others, including the commander, Captain George Etherington. Given to the Ottawa, they were joined by the garrison from Fort Edward Augustus (Green Bay) and escorted to Montreal.

   Pontiac's rebellion collapsed as Forts Detroit, Pitt, and Niagara continued to hold and British forces began to arrive. The Mississauga, whose support had never been too strong, were among the first to make a separate peace. They joined with the Caughnawaga Iroquois to escort Colonel John Bradstreet's army to Detroit. The British issued the Proclamation of 1763 forbidding further settlement west of the Appalachians, and Amherst was replaced by Sir Thomas Gage. The Mackinac Ojibwe attended the general peace conference held at Niagara in July of 1764, but the La Pointe and Mississippi bands did not. The British restored annual presents to the chiefs and promised to reopen trading posts with more trade goods. Despite this, the Mackinac and Saginaw remained aloof and hostile for some time - the Saginaw attacked British traders on the Ohio River in 1767. At Mackinac, the British wisely started using French traders to deal with the Ojibwe. Alexander Henry and Jean Cadotte (Metis) organized the Voyagers who used large 36' canoes with 12-man crews, many of them Ojibwe, to bring furs to market.

   Pontiac's reputation suffered with the collapse of his uprising. He signed his own peace with the British in 1766 and afterwards left Detroit to settle in northern Illinois where he still had a considerable following. Although he had promised never to fight the British again, he appears to have been trying to organize another rebellion in the west. In 1769 he was murdered in Cahokia by a Peoria (Illinois) after a drunken argument at the establishment of a British trader named Williamson. The British were suspected of having arranged the assassination, and Minavavana, the Ojibwe chief at Mackinac, arrived in Cahokia escorted by two warriors looking for Williamson. Not finding the man he wanted, he killed two of his employees. This was the beginning of a general war against the Illinois to avenge Pontiac. The Ojibwe had already fought the Illinois in 1752 and seized some of their territory in northern Illinois. Now they were joined by the Fox, Sauk, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Winnebago. After making their last stand at Starved Rock, fewer than 300 Peoria survived to flee down the Illinois River to the French at Kaskaskia - the victors taking over the lands formerly occupied by the Illinois.

   The Proclamation of 1763 was doomed as soon as it was issued. American frontiersmen simply ignored it and came anyway to squat on native lands. The British could not stop them, and the inability to speculate in frontier lands was pushing the wealthier American colonists towards revolution. It was hurting the Iroquois who were losing their homeland east of the mountains to squatters and legal settlement. To solve this, the Iroquois and British met at Fort Stanwix in 1768 and signed a treaty where the Iroquois ceded their claims to Ohio and opened it for settlement. No one bothered to consult the Delaware and Shawnee who actually lived there. Their protests to the Iroquois ignored, the Shawnee took matters into their own hands and made overtures for an alliance to the: Illinois (the few who were left), Wea, Piankashaw, Miami, Kickapoo, Potawatomi, Wyandot, Ottawa, Delaware, Mascouten, Ojibwe, Cherokee, and Chickasaw. Meetings were held at the Shawnee villages on the Scioto River in 1770 and 1771, but William Johnson was able to prevent an alliance with threats of a war with the Iroquois.

   This left the Shawnee alone to face the frontiersmen and Virginia militia during Lord Dunmore's War (1774). The British remained interested observers in the struggle for the Ohio Valley until the beginning of the American Revolution (1775-83), at which time they began actively supporting the Ohio tribes against the Americans. Only the Saginaw had any important part in this fighting. The Lake Superior and Minnesota Ojibwe took no interest, and Mackinac participation was very limited. However, the British remained in control of the Great Lakes throughout the war and their fur trade continued. To allow the northern tribes to be used against the Americans, the British in 1778 were finally able to resolve the still-smoldering dispute between the Mackinac, Menominee and Winnebago. The truce freed these in 1780 to participate in the British expedition which attacked St. Louis (Spain had joined the war against Great Britain). In the east, Mississauga warriors joined Joseph Brant's Mohawk in a series of attacks against frontier settlements in New York and Pennsylvania.

   War between the Dakota and Ojibwe did not end when the Dakota were driven into southern Minnesota during the 1750s. Large battles gave way to continuous, raids designed make life miserable and give the other side little rest. These were mostly killing and burning. Few prisoners were taken. On most occasions, the Dakota got the worst of this. The Ojibwe were better armed and had the advantage of birchbark canoes (Dakota used dugouts). Neither had horses at the time, but to be fair, the Lakota (Teton Sioux) had already left Minnesota for the northern plains. With only 3-400 warriors, the Dakota were completely outnumbered, and even the Ojibwe admit they were a brave and dangerous enemy. Despite their disadvantages, the Dakota continued to resist and in 1780 formed an alliance with the Fox and Sauk to retake the St. Croix Valley. After a major battle at St. Croix Falls, the Ojibwe destroyed six Fox villages along the Chippewa River. By 1783 the Fox had withdrawn from Wisconsin and crossed the Mississippi into Iowa.

   Allied with the Cree and Assiniboine, the Ojibwe had swept across northern Minnesota and western Ontario during the 1740s. By 1750 groups of Ojibwe (Pembina band) had reached the Red River at the edge of the plains in Manitoba and western Minnesota. They paused here, adapted to the plains culture, and began to venture onto the plains to hunt both buffalo and Lakota. The Ojibwe seemed determined to drive the Sioux into the Pacific Ocean. The Cheyenne, who lived in eastern North Dakota at this time, were caught in the middle. In 1770 the Ojibwe decided the Cheyenne were favoring the Lakota, and they destroyed their village while the warriors were absent on a hunt. The Cheyenne left soon afterwards and moved west to the Missouri River. Before 1750 the eastern Dakotas were dominated by the Mandan who lived in permanent, agricultural villages along the upper Missouri. The area was shared somewhat with the Lakota who spent their summers on the plains but returned to Minnesota each winter.

   The Ojibwe invasion changed this, and the Lakota stayed permanently pushing the Mandan back towards the Missouri. On their heals, came the Assiniboine, Plains Cree, and Plains Ojibwe (Bungee or Plains Chippewa). The pursuit ended when the Lakota got horses, something their enemies also acquired, but never as many. As a result, the Lakota became the most powerful tribe on the northern plains, and the westward expansion of the Ojibwe into the Dakotas stopped at the Turtle Mountains. Smallpox struck the Red River during the winter of 1781-82. The Assiniboine, famous for large winter encampments, were especially hard-hit. The survivors left the valley afterwards and joined the Plains Cree moving west. The Ojibwe custom of small groups during the winter had protected them. Many stayed near the Red River, but others joined the westward migration. Because the Lakota controlled most of North and South Dakota, the remaining Ojibwe movement to the west occurred in Canada. Called Saulteaux by the French and Bungee by Hudson Bay traders, groups of Plains Ojibwe accompanied the Cree and Assiniboine, eventually reaching the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta.

   The Revolutionary War officially ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, but in Ohio and Great Lakes, it continued until 1794. Under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, the boundary of new United States extended through the Great Lakes and west to the Mississippi River. The Americans were also required to compensate British loyalists (Tories) for their property losses during the revolution. Saddled with heavy debts from the war, there was no way the Americans could pay these obligations unless they could sell the land in Ohio. The British, of course, knew this, and continued to occupy their forts in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes until the Americans paid. Meanwhile, they armed the tribes fighting to keep the Americans out of Ohio and sat back to watch their former colonies fall back into their hands through economic collapse.

   Officially, the British had told their native allies in 1783 to stop their attacks on the Americans, but the year before, Simon De Peyster, the British agent at Detroit, had begun the initial steps towards an alliance by reconciling disputes between the: Ojibwe, Winnebago, Fox, Sauk, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Miami. The British did not attend the meeting held at Sandusky in 1783 where the alliance was formed, but they brought the Mohawk Joseph Brant west to speak for them and let it be known they would support the western alliance against the Americans. The United States were also active, and among the first things the new government did was to meet with the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix in 1784 and force them to confirm their 1768 cession of Ohio. Badly mauled by Americans during the war, the Iroquois did as demanded. American commissioners were sent west to gain the acceptance of the Ohio tribes. The treaty signed at Fort McIntosh in 1785 was the first between the Ojibwe and the United States.

   The treaty recognized American authority in Ohio and established a boundary between white and native lands. Unfortunately, the chiefs who signed did not represent the alliance anymore than the American commissioners represented the interests of its frontier citizens. The encroachment continued, and settlements were attacked in retaliation. Frontier militia responded with their own raids against the southernmost alliance villages forcing the council fire to be moved from Shawnee village of Waketomica in Ohio to Brownstown near Detroit. In a final attempt to resolve this through treaty, the American governor of the Northwest Territory, Arthur St. Clair, in December, 1787 asked for a conference to be held at the falls of the Muskingum River (Fort Harmar). The alliance was divided on how to respond. Joseph Brant was opposed to the surrender of any land in Ohio. He stormed out of the meeting in disgust and went back to Ontario.

   The Wyandot decided to attend and convinced the Detroit Ojibwe and Ottawa, Delaware, and Potawatomi to join them. The Saginaw Ojibwe and Ottawa expressed their opinion that summer by attacking soldiers building the meeting house at Fort Harmar. The Fort Harmar Treaty (January, 1789) establish the frontier on the Muskingum River but failed for the same reasons as the Fort McIntosh Treaty in 1785 - encroachment, raids, and retaliation. After Americans attacked the Wabash villages that summer, the militant Shawnee and Miami dominated the alliance, and the Americans decided on war. The first efforts met with disaster. Harmar's (1790) and St. Clair's (1791) defeats were the worst beatings ever inflicted on an American army by Native Americans. President Washington sent "Mad Anthony" Wayne to Ohio to take command. Wayne was anything but "Mad." A deliberate and cautious man, he took two years to train a large force of regulars to back the skittish frontier militia. In the meantime, constant warfare was taking its toll on the unity of the western alliance.

   The alliance could muster more than 2,000 warriors, but it could not feed them. Hungry Fox and Sauk warriors went home in 1792. That same year, Americans captured many of the Wabash tribes (Wea, Piankashaw, and Kickapoo) women and children forcing them to make a separate peace. Meanwhile, Wayne's careful preparations were creating doubts within the alliance, most notably the Miami war chief Little Turtle who had given the alliance its greatest victories. American peace commissioners were sent to offer peace in exchange for acceptance of the Muskingum boundary. The Shawnee murdered two of them in 1792, but the delegation which included Hendrick Aupamut, a Stockbridge (Mahican) with relatives among the Delaware, arrived safely in 1793. The alliance was divided, but the arguments of Joseph Brant prevailed, and the conference ended without bringing peace.

   The alliance had decided to fight but remained divided. After Wayne began his advance north from Fort Washington at Cincinnati, Little Turtle was replaced by Bluejacket (Shawnee). Saginaw and Detroit Ojibwe were among the warriors who faced Wayne at Fallen Timbers in August, 1794, but the 700 who participated were far fewer than in earlier battles. As the warriors retreated from the battlefield afterwards, the British at Fort Miami refused to open their gates. Great Britain had decided to reach an accommodation with the Americans rather than risk war.In November, it signed the Jay Treaty agreeing to withdraw from forts on American territory. Abandoned by the British, alliance chiefs signed the Fort Greenville Treaty in 1795 ceding Ohio except the northwest part. As part of the alliance, the Detroit and Saginaw Ojibwe also signed, but the loss of Ohio did not affect their lands which were north of the treaty line.

   The British gave up the forts, but the Jay treaty allowed them to trade in American territory. American soldiers occupied Mackinac, but their activities were confined to the immediate vicinity of the fort. British and French Canadians dominated the region's tribes and trade until the 1820s. After the British had assumed control of Canada in 1763, the fur trade had continued to operate mostly from Montreal. In 1779 several Montreal traders merged to form the Northwest Company, and at their request, the British government called a council the following year at Mackinac with the Ojibwe, Dakota, Fox, Sauk, Menominee, and Winnebago to end the intertribal warfare which was crippling the fur trade. The resulting treaty brought 20 years of peace to the region with one very important exception: the Dakota and Ojibwe. Nothing could stop this, but the Northwesters still managed to bring a lot of fur back to Montreal. By 1798 they were making regular visits to the Mandan villages on the Missouri River. To counter the competition from the Northwesters, Hudson Bay traders began moving their posts inland from Hudson Bay. By 1793 they had a permanent post on the Red River at Pembina. A third competitor entered the scene with the formation of the XYZ Company. Before this three-way competition began, alcohol was not a major problem for the Ojibwe, but ruthless competition made it readily available.

   The Northwesters and XYZ merged in 1804 ending the worst abuses, but British traders were all over the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin and an increasing concern to the Americans. The factory system was created during the 1790s to compete with the British, but it was poorly managed and ineffective. During his exploration of the upper Mississippi in 1806, Zebulon Pike ordered the Ojibwe to stop trading with the British and arranged a truce between them and the Dakota. Pike had barely started back down the Mississippi, when war with the Dakota and trade with the British resumed. John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company entered the Lake Superior trade just after the War of 1812. The British were still allowed to trade in the area, but United States law now required a permit. For some reason, these were difficult to obtain, and Astor was soon able to buy out the Northwesters. However, farther west in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and northern plains, British and M�tis traders from the Red River remained active for many years. Known to the Lakota as the Slota, M�tis traders took their high, two-wheeled Red River carts out on the plains. They were an important source of firearms for the Lakota until the 1870s.

   The years after the Greenville Treaty were terrible for the western alliance tribes. Defeated and crowded into a shrinking land base, there was widespread social disintegration and breakdown of tribal authority. Drinking was a serious problem, and "peace chiefs" trying to reach an accommodation with the Americans were often in danger of being killed by their own people. The alliance collapsed, although the Shawnee chief Bluejacket tied to resurrect it in 1801. Not satisfied with the lands gotten at Greenville, the Americans continued to whittle away at the remaining native lands in the Ohio Valley. William Henry Harrison, the American governor of the Northwest Territory, had instructions to extinguish native land titles, and he set about his work. The Illinois ceded southern Illinois in 1803 even though they no longer controlled it. That same year, the Delaware sold part of southern Indiana. This was followed by treaties in 1805, 1807, and 1808 wherein the Detroit Ojibwe, Ottawa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi ceded parts of northern Ohio and southeastern Michigan.

   The times called for a prophet. In 1805 a Shawnee drunkard named Lalawethika received a spiritual vision. He never touched alcohol again and took a new name - Tenskwatawa (The Open Door). Unwilling to wrestle with the pronunciation of his Shawnee name, Americans called him "The Prophet." The Shawnee were surprised at the sudden change in this man, but after he predicted a solar eclipse in 1806, Tenskwatawa gained a large following from several tribes. His message was essentially the same as Neolin's in 1763 - reject the white man's trade goods and whiskey and return to traditional ways. His religious movement probably would have run its course and disappeared unnoticed into history, but his brother was Tecumseh. A spell-binding speaker and respected Shawnee war chief, Tecumseh added a political force to his brother's movement. His main argument was there were to be no more land cessions to the Americans ...period! This placed him in direct opposition to the peace chiefs and Harrison.

   Tecumseh visited Canada in 1808 and received strong British encouragement and offers of support. The Prophet's messengers also made their first visits to the Ojibwe villages that year. Many listened, but there was the competing movement of Trout, an Ottawa mystic at Mackinac, and strong opposition from the Midewiwin, who were not only a healing society but a major political force binding the Ojibwe bands to each other. Despite this, some of the Ojibwe and Ottawa decided to visit the Prophet at Prophetstown (Tippecanoe) in western Indiana. They arrived skeptical, and a harsh winter with starvation and disease at Prophetstown made them more so. They left angry after killing a Shawnee woman and her child in defiance of Prophet's teachings and were planning an attack on Prophetstown until dissuaded by Michigan governor William Hull.

   William Henry Harrison ignored the growing strength of Tecumseh and the Prophet and kept pressing for more land. In 1809 he negotiated treaties at Fort Wayne and Vincennes with the Delaware, Potawatomi Miami, and Illinois which ceded 3,000,000 acres in southern Indiana and Illinois. When he heard this, Tecumseh threatened to kill the chiefs who signed. He made good on this when his followers executed the Wyandot chief Leatherlips in 1810. The peace chiefs at Brownstown condemned the Prophet as a witch, but this was more a bark than a bite. Wyandot loyal to Tecumseh defied the council and brought the wampum belts of the old alliance to Prophetstown that year. Certain of war, Tecumseh left Tippecanoe to gather support from the tribes south of the Ohio. While he was absent, the Potawatomi attacked settlements in Illinois, and Harrison used this as an excuse to gather an army and march on Prophetstown in November, 1811.

   Disregarding his brother's orders to avoid confrontation with the Americans while he was gone, Tenskwatawa attacked. The battle of Tippecanoe followed, during which Prophetstown was burned. The military defeat was not nearly as important as the damage done to Tenskwatawa's reputation as a prophet. After Tecumseh returned to Indiana, he had to use all of his powers to rebuild his alliance before the War of 1812 (1812-14) erupted that summer. Tecumseh and his followers fought on the British side during this conflict, but participation by the Ojibwe is more complex. Many of the Detroit and Saginaw Ojibwe joined Tecumseh until he was killed at the Battle of the Thames in 1813. Mississauga warriors helped the British defend Canada against American invasion. However, the Lake Superior and Mississippi (Minnesota) Ojibwe remained neutral, with their chief Bugonaykishig (Hole In the Day) as friendly to Americans as he was dangerous to the Dakota. The Mackinac helped the British capture Fort Michilimackinac in 1812, and two years later joined forces with the British garrison and 500 Menominee, Winnebago, Sauk, Dakota, and Ottawa warriors to defeat an American attempt to recapture it.

   So far as Britain and the United States were concerned, the War of 1812 ended in stalemate, but for Native Americans it meant total defeat. The Americans were in control afterwards, and native lands began to dwindle away. The first treaties like the one at Spring Wells in 1815 were "kiss and make up" where tribes recognized United States authority and both parties agreed to forgive injuries which occurred during the war. The United States got down to business at the Fort Meigs Treaty (September, 1817) when the Ojibwe and others exchanged their remaining Ohio lands for reservations. The Saginaw surrendered a large part of southeast Michigan in 1819, followed in 1821 by the cession of northern Indiana lands by the Ojibwe and Potawatomi. Strangely enough, the first Ojibwe land losses occurred in Ontario with the Mississauga. This began shortly after 1783 to make room for the resettlement of Joseph Brant's Mohawk who had been forced from New York during the Revolutionary War. Thousands of British loyalists also left the United States to settle in Upper Canada, and in 1792 Moravian Delaware arrived to escape the fighting in Ohio. Game became scarce, and the Mississauga began attacking Delaware hunters. The Mississauga eventually lost almost all of their land. By the 1840s they were destitute, but they still managed to donate �50 (a considerable sum at the time) for Irish famine relief.

   There were no wars and few confrontations between the Americans and Ojibwe after 1815, but this was not true about the Ojibwe and Dakota. The Ojibwe had driven the Dakota south of the Minnesota River by 1780, but the Dakota made up for their losses by taking territory from the much-smaller Iowa tribe. As the Iowa retreated southward they came into conflict with the Osage and formed an alliance with the Fox and Sauk - also at war with the Osage. Despite the brief Fox-Dakota alliance against the Ojibwe (1780-83) and British efforts to negotiate a peace at Mackinac in 1786, the upper Mississippi was a war zone in 1800. After the War of 1812, the United States, for the first time, had control of its own territory free from British interference, but settlement advanced up the Mississippi from St. Louis no farther than the present southern border of Iowa because of the warfare to the north. Although the French and British had both failed, the Americans were determined to stop this.

   Fort Snelling (St. Paul, MN) was built in 1819 to control British traders in Minnesota and provide a barrier between the Dakota and Ojibwe. It was more effective in controlling the British than the Dakota and Ojibwe. Despite a major Dakota victory at Cross Lake, Ojibwe villages by 1800 were located as far south as the Crow Wing River with the Ojibwe usually attacking the Dakota rather than the other-way-around. One American in Wisconsin during the early 1820s observed an Ojibwe war party return to their village with more than 300 scalps. With the fighting occurring up to the gates of their forts, the Americans decided to solve the problem by defining tribal territories. To this end, a Grand Council was held at Prairie du Chien in August, 1825 (Ojibwe, Dakota, Fox, Sauk, Iowa, Ottawa, Menominee, Winnebago, and Potawatomi). William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame) headed the American delegation and, using lavish gifts and the promise of American trade factories, secured a treaty with general boundaries. Final adjustments were to be made at the discretion of the United States.

   Not all of the Ojibwe were represented at Prairie du Chein, and it took two other treaties - Fond du Lac (1826) and Butte des Morts (1827) to complete the process. Unfortunately, these treaties bought little peace. In 1826 the Ojibwe ambushed the Dakota just north of Fort Snelling, and the Dakota retaliated the following year with an attack on an Ojibwe chief visiting the fort. The Americans captured the responsible Dakota and turned them over to the Ojibwe. By 1828 full-scale warfare had resumed, with the soldiers at Fort Snelling as spectators. Despite this, American settlement surged up the Mississippi Valley after the Prairie du Chien treaty. The first target was the lead deposits between Prairie du Chien and Galena, Illinois. This caused a brief war with the Winnebago during 1828, after which, the Winnebago were forced to surrender their claim to the area. Additional treaties the following year with the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi completed the takeover.

   Further south, Blackhawk's Sauk in 1832 refused to surrender their western Illinois lands as required by a questionable 1804 treaty, and this erupted into the Blackhawk War. Although Blackhawk thought the Ojibwe, Winnebago, and even British would support him, only a few Potawatomi in northern Illinois joined in. Soundly beaten, the Sauk were forced to cede their remaining lands in Illinois as well as parts of eastern Iowa. In the aftermath, pressure built to remove the other tribes from Illinois. At the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi in northern Illinois ceded their remaining lands and agreed to move to Council Bluffs on the Missouri River in southwest Iowa. After a few years, the Illinois Ojibwe merged with the more-numerous Prairie Potawatomi. The combined tribe was forced from Iowa in 1846 and removed to eastern Kansas.

   After the Blackhawk War, settlers moved into northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and eastern Iowa and then started looking north towards Minnesota for more land. In the meantime, fighting between the Dakota and Ojibwe had continued, and a government peace mission headed by Henry Schoolcraft in 1831 failed to produce lasting results. However, the Ojibwe over-hunted Minnesota, and as the fur dwindled, they acquired almost $70,000 in debt to American traders. The Dakota had similar problems and obligations. To pay these, both tribes agreed in 1837 (Treaty of St. Peters) to cede a disputed area between the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers (including much of northwest Wisconsin) which they had fought over for a century but neither could safely use. The Ojibwe receive a $35,000 annual payment which gave the Americans leverage in preventing hostilities.

   Unfortunately, many of the northern Ojibwe bands got nothing and continued to raid the Dakota. When the Ojibwe delegation came to Fort Snelling in the summer of 1839 to collect their annuities, the Dakota attacked them. 100 Ojibwe and 23 Dakota died in a battle which took place on the grounds of the fort itself. In 1848 the Winnebago (friendly with both tribes) were brought to Minnesota and placed at Long Prairie between the Ojibwe and Dakota. In 1851 a group of Ojibwe visiting the Winnebago agency slipped off unnoticed and killed five Dakota. Fighting between the Ojibwe and Dakota only slowed after the Dakota were moved to reservations in southwest Minnesota during the 1850s. However, occasional outbreaks continued until 1862 when the Americans drove the Dakota from Minnesota during the Minnesota Valley Uprising.

   Until the late 1800s, many Ojibwe in Minnesota maintained closer ties with Canada than the United States. Winnipeg and Fort Geary were actually closer to them than the American traders at St. Paul, and the "medicine line" (U.S.-Canada border) meant little. Like the Americans, Canadian relations with the Ojibwe were mostly friendly, but there were major problems with the M�tis (French-Ojibwe-Cree mixed bloods) who had settled in the Red River Valley and become almost a nation. The Hudson Bay Company began the first white settlements in the area in 1811. These was opposed by the Northwesters, who by 1815 were urging the Ojibwe, Cree, and Assiniboine to attack the settlements. The Ojibwe and others refused, but the Bois Brul� (French-Ojibwe mixed bloods) agreed. Disguised in native dress, they captured the governor and Pembina and forced 140 settlers to flee for their lives. The insurrection was finally crushed by Lord Thomas Selkirk in 1817. Selkirk reorganized the settlements and negotiated peace treaties with the Cree, Assiniboine, and the Ojibwe. He even managed a treaty with the Dakota who recently had killed 33 Saulteaux (Red River Ojibwe) in fighting near Pembina.

   Hudson Bay and the Northwesters merged in 1821 ending their no-hold-barred competition, but M�tis resentment against newcomers continued and erupted into the Red River Rebellion of 1869 led by Louis Riel. It took almost the entire Canadian army to put down this revolt, and Riel fled south to, of all places, the United States. Meanwhile, at the urging of mining and timber interests, the Canadian government was extinguishing Ojibwe land titles. Signed during the 1850s, the Robertson Treaties (Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior treaties) and Manitoulin Island Treaty cost the Ojibwe their lands on the northern and eastern shores of Lakes Superior and Huron and the Saugeen Peninsula. A series of five treaties (1871-75) followed with the Plains Ojibwe, Cree, and other tribes which are known only by their number (Treaty No. 1, etc.). This concluded in 1923 with the Williams Treaty with the Ojibwe of southern Ontario.

   In the United States, the process was similar. Spread over such a large area, their lands passed into white ownership and the public domain through a series of treaties rather any single agreement. This initially happened where soil and growing season permitted agriculture: Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, southern Wisconsin. After their first cessions in 1819 and 1821, the Saginaw through six treaties (1836-39) ceded their lands and agreed to temporary reservations until arrangements could be made for their removal to Kansas. Only the Black River and Swan Creek bands actually moved. The others decided to stay in Michigan and refused to leave. Some joined the Ojibwe in upper Michigan, but the rest used the money from their original cessions to purchase new lands. By 1854 the government accepted this but required allotment (individual rather than tribal ownership). During the next fifteen years, the Saginaw lost at least 300,000 acres to fraud. The situation was so rotten even the federal government noticed and was forced to intervene.

   Their treaty promised to send them to Minnesota, but the Black River and Swan Creek Ojibwe arrived in Kansas in 1839. They settled near Ottawa on lands originally intended for all of the Saginaw. When it became clear in 1854 the other Saginaw were going to stay in Michigan, 8,320 acres were given to the Black River and Swan Creek bands. After Kansas was opened to white settlement by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, the immigrant tribes from the east began to sell their lands. This left a group of Moravian Delaware from Ontario without land, but the Ojibwe gave them permission to settle on their lands. The two groups merged shortly afterwards and, after agreeing to allotment and citizenship, stayed in Kansas when the other tribes left for Oklahoma after the civil war. Most still live in the vicinity.

   Although it always took several treaties to reach agreement with every band, the United States initially treated the Ojibwe in upper Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota as one tribe. Since most of their land was useless for agriculture, pressure for land cessions occurred later than with other Ojibwe. Only a small area near Sault Ste. Marie for a fort and trading post and the St. Martin Islands were ceded in two treaties signed in 1820. The 1826 treaty at Fond du Lac was similar, but the Americans received permission to explore and mine the south shore of Lake Superior. Rich cooper deposits were discovered on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and at La Pointe in 1842, the Ojibwe ceded most upper Michigan and northern Wisconsin retaining only their right to hunt and fish. For this the United States paid $75,000 for the debts accumulated with American traders and an annuity of $36,000 for 25 years. However, the agreement split the Lake Superior Ojibwe (who got most of the money) from the Mississippi bands in Minnesota who had opposed the cession.

   Whites rushed in to exploit the copper and timber, and by 1847 there was talk of moving all of the Ojibwe to Kansas. Three years later President Zachary Taylor ordered the removal, but his death that year postponed the implementation. This allowed time for opposition to organize - not only Christian missionaries working among the Ojibwe, but the Minnesota legislature in 1853 voted its opposition to removal. Taylor's order was rescinded by his successor, Millard Fillmore. Since it no longer intended to remove the Ojibwe, the government needed to assign reservations. In the treaty signed at La Pointe in 1854, the Lake Superior Ojibwe gave up seven million acres in exchange for six reservations too small to support them. It took twelve years and eight additional treaties to finalize the Ojibwe reservations in Minnesota.

   Louis Riel went back to Canada to lead a second rebellion in 1884. This time he was captured, brought to trial, and hung. His supporters had included not only the M�tis, but also Cree and Ojibwe, and afterwards, many found sanctuary in the United States. Ojibwe of Rocky Boy (Stone Child) Ojibwe crossed into northeast Montana and settled along the Milk River in 1886. The army considered them Canadian Indians and wanted to deport them, but with the support of Montana citizens, they were allowed to stay and given the Rocky Boy Reservation. In 1910 they were joined there by Little Bear's Cree. Back in North Dakota, the Plains Cree escaped the government attention until 1882. Whites moving into the area wanted to know why all of the "Indians" were still running loose. Since the United States no longer dealt with Native Americans through treaty, the Turtle Mountain Reservation was created that year by executive order.

   The Plains Ojibwe did not always remain on this reservation and often left on extended buffalo hunts. During one of these absences of Little Shell's group of almost 5,000 Ojibwe and M�tis in 1884, the government concluded Turtle Mountain was too large for the number of Ojibwe living there and reclaimed 90% of the reservation for sale to whites. This left Little Shell and his people stranded in Montana without land. The government offered to compensate the Ojibwe for the loss of ten million acres at the rate of 10� per acre - the "Ten Cent Treaty." Many Ojibwe took the money and returned to the crowded reservation in North Dakota, but Little Shell rejected the settlement, and his people have remained without recognition ever since. The real embarrassment to the government occurred when the reservation was allotted in 1892. Even without Little Shell's people, there was not enough land available on the reservation. 2,000 allotments had to be added from public lands in Montana and South Dakota.

   After 1815 there were few confrontations between the Ojibwe and Americans, but the fight between the Army and Pillager Band of Ojibwe on October 5th, 1898 was the last official battle of the Indian Wars. Troops were sent to the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota to arrest Bugonaygeshig, a dissident Ojibwe elder. Bugonaygeshig had been arrested once before and, after a trial in Duluth, had to walk back to Leech Lake. He was in no mood to repeat this experience. As the Ojibwe gathered to protect him, an army rifle accidentally discharged, and the soldiers suddenly found themselves surrounded and under fire from all sides. Cooler heads prevailed, and after a truce, the army withdrew without Bugonaygeshig. This skirmish produced the last Medal of Honor awarded in an Indian campaign. To Private O. Burchard: "For distinguished bravery in action against hostile Indians for action during the uprising of Chippewa Indians on Leech Lake, northern Minnesota." A soldier got the medal, but as was the case with almost every enemy they had ever faced, the Ojibwe had won the battle.

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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2007, 05:17:39 AM »

Winnebago/ Ho Chunk

   For as long as anyone can remember, the Winnebago lived in the vicinity of Green Bay in northeastern Wisconsin. The most powerful tribe in the region, they dominated the western shore of Lake Michigan from Upper Michigan to southern Wisconsin. As part of major climatic change in North America sometime around 1400, three closely related tribes - Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Ottawa - began moving west along the shore of Lake Huron towards the point where Lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan meet. The Ottawa stopped at Manitoulin Island, but the Ojibwe occupied the north shore of Lake Huron including Upper Michigan near Sault Ste. Marie. About 1500 the Potawatomi crossed over the Strait at Mackinac into northern part of the Lower Michigan peninsula. The invasion drove the original tribes of the region south and west. Among the victims were the Menominee and possibly the Cheyenne, Sutai, and Arapaho. The Menominee were forced south where they became tributary and allies of the Winnebago. The Cheyenne and Arapaho, however, were set adrift to the west until they reached the Great Plains.

   The Winnebago were obviously powerful enough for the moment to prevent the Ojibwe from moving further south, but the loss of territory and and a growing population must have stressed the resources available to them. From subsequent events, it appears that the Winnebago tried to solve this by moving into southern Wisconsin creating confrontations with the tribes of the Illinois Confederation. With no place to expand, the Winnebago began to separate. Sometime around 1570, the Iowa, Missouri, and Otoe left the Winnebago near Green Bay and moved west. Passing down the Wisconsin River, they crossed the Mississippi and settled in Iowa before separating into individual tribes. Weakened by this defection, the remaining Winnebago concentrated into large villages near Green Bay to defend their homeland against the Ojibwe from the north or Illinois in the south.

   It was in this state of siege that the Winnebago felt the first effects of Europeans in North America. The French had begun their fur trade along the St. Lawrence River in 1603 and, during 1609, had helped the Algonkin, Huron and Montagnais defeat the Iroquois and drive them south. Following the Ottawa River west, �tienne Brul� reached the Huron villages in 1611 and Sault Ste. Marie in 1623. But for the most part, the French stopped at the Huron villages on the south end of Lake Huron and allowed native traders to conduct the fur trade beyond that point. The Ottawa and Huron soon linked with the Ojibwe in upper Michigan and then made attempts to open trade with the Winnebago to south. The French first learned about the Winnebago from the Ottawa in 1620, and what they heard was not especially good. Knowing that the Ottawa were closely related to and trading with their Ojibwe enemies, the Winnebago were suspicious and refused to allow Ottawa and Huron traders to proceed further west.

   The matter smoldered for several years, while the Winnebago felt their first taste of the steel weapons the Ojibwe were receiving from the French in exchange for their furs. Trying to break the impasse, the Ottawa finally sent envoys to the Winnebago to arrange trade. Revealing a talent for treachery, the Winnebago killed and ate the Ottawa representatives. While the Ottawa and Huron prepared for war, the French in 1634 sent Jean Nicolet west to the Winnebago on what appeared to be a suicide mission. When Nicollet landed at Red Banks on the south shore of Green Bay, he was the first European the Winnebago had ever seen which probably saved his life. Nicollet ultimately succeeded in arranging a truce between the Winnebago, Huron, and Ottawa which allowed trade. The fragile arrangement lasted for some time afterwards allowing Nicollet to make a second visit to the Winnebago villages at La Baye (Green Bay) in 1639. Twenty-six years would pass before another Frenchman would visit Green Bay.

   The Winnebago were almost destroyed in the meantime. The Beaver Wars started in 1628 when the Iroquois, having defeated the Mahican for control of the Dutch fur trade, began a war to reclaim their territory on the upper St. Lawrence River from the Algonkin. Montagnais, and Huron. The fighting quickly spread west to other tribes. Having exhausted the beaver in their homelands, Ottawa, Neutral, and Tionontati warriors equipped with firearms and steel weapons invaded lower Michigan to seize hunting territory from the Algonquin living there. The first refugees from these wars to arrive in Wisconsin were a group of Potawatomi who attempted to settle near Green Bay in 1641. Showing no mercy, the Winnebago immediately attacked and by 1642 had driven them north into upper Michigan.

   Unfortunately, this was only the beginning. The remaining Potawatomi soon joined the early arrivals followed by other tribes from lower Michigan. As all of these refugee tribes united against them, disagreements arose among the Winnebago over how to deal with the situation resulting in fighting among themselves. In the end most Winnebago decided on war and to concentrate on the Fox. Disaster was immediate. Crossing Lake Winnebago in canoes to attack the Fox, the Winnebago were caught in a storm and 500 warriors were drowned. The three largest Winnebago bands then drew together into a single village - a traditional defensive measure in times of war, but it proved to be a death trap. 12,000 people in a confined space was the perfect conditions for the epidemics which accompanied the refugees to Wisconsin, and they struck the Winnebago with devastating effect. Smallpox has been blamed, but the Winnebago say the disease turned their people yellow suggesting it was something else.

   The Winnebago emerged from this with less than 1,500 warriors and 4,500 people. They were also starving since war and epidemic had made it impossible to harvest their crops. As mentioned, the hostility between the Illinois and Winnebago must have existed for many years before the refugees began to arrive. Perhaps motivated by a need to form an alliance against the newcomers who were also overrunning their territory, or even pity for an old enemy fallen on hard times, the Illinois sent 500 warriors and food to help the Winnebago. This proved a serious mistake. The Winnebago welcomed and held a feast for them, but in the midst of the dancing and celebration, they secretly cut the Illinois' bowstrings. Then they fell upon their benefactors and killed all of them to appease the spirits of Winnebago warriors killed earlier by the Illinois.

   It took the Illinois some time to learn what had happened. In the meantime, the Winnebago had anticipated retaliation and retreated to an island in the middle of a lake where they built a fort. A sensible precaution, since it was impossible for the Illinois to bring their heavy dugout canoes overland with them to attack the Winnebago. The Illinois proved patient and waited a year to take revenge. When the lake froze that winter, a large Illinois war party crossed over the ice to attack the village only to find the Winnebago were absent on their winter hunt. After a six-day pursuit, they caught up with the Winnebago and, during the slaughter which followed, almost annihilated them. Few Winnebago escaped to find refuge with the Menominee. About 150 Winnebago prisoners were taken back as slaves to the Illinois villages and, after several years of hard usage, released to return to Wisconsin. Less than 500 Winnebago survived to provide a future for their people, but their near-extermination was the second serious mistake made by the Illinois. Despite the circumstances which had caused it, the Winnebago never forgave or forgot what had happened.

   In the east the Beaver Wars had grown in intensity and threatened the French fur trade. The climax came in the early spring of 1649 when the Iroquois overran and destroyed the Huron. Other French allies fell victim during the next few years while the Iroquois moved into the Ottawa Valley cutting French access to the western Great Lakes. The Iroquois then invaded lower Michigan during the 1650s expelling the remaining Algonquin. 20,000 refugees fled west to Wisconsin producing a tide which the decimated Menominee and Winnebago could not resist. Even the Illinois were forced to surrender territory in southern Wisconsin. So far as is known, the Winnebago made only one attempt at resistance during this period when they managed to keep the Mascouten from locating near Green Bay in 1655. However, this success proved temporary and made the Winnebago hated by the refugees. Within three years the Mascouten had allied with the Kickapoo and Miami and settled where they pleased. Only Iroquois attacks in the area during 1660 forced them inland to a safer location at the Fox Portage.

   The Iroquois victory over the Huron in 1649 had virtually destroyed the French trade, but they managed to continue on a limited basis by inviting tribes to bring their furs to Montreal. This was only possible for large, heavily-armed canoe fleets able to fight their way past the Iroquois on the Ottawa River. Having become dependent on French trade goods, only the Ottawa and Huron were willing to try, and supported by Ojibwe warriors, they fought their way to and from Montreal. In this manner, French trade goods continued to reach the western Great Lakes in limited amounts, but it also brought Iroquois war parties west to Wisconsin to stop the trade at its source. The French had made a separate peace with the Iroquois in 1645, but this collapsed in 1658. Six years of raids and harassment followed before the French got serious and sent a regiment of soldiers to Quebec to deal with the Iroquois. Their attacks on Iroquois homeland produced an alliance between the British and Iroquois and marked the beginning of the British-French struggle for control of North America.

   Meanwhile, the French resumed travel to the western Great Lakes. In 1665 fur trader Nicholas Perrot, Jesuit Claude-Jean Allouez, and four other Frenchmen accompanied a large Huron-Ottawa trading party (400 warriors) on its return journey. After fighting their way past the Iroquois along the Ottawa River, they reached Green Bay. What they found was a disaster: war, disease, and starvation. Allouez mentioned sadly that only 500 remained of once-numerous Winnebago described by Nicollet. French attacks on the Iroquois homeland produced a lasting peace in 1667. For the first time, it also extended to French allies and trading partners, including those in the western Great Lakes. This allowed the French to resume their fur trade, but they first needed to bring some order to the area and end the warfare. Using the threat of withholding trade, they began mediating intertribal disputes, a role which eventually evolved into the relationship of Onontio (the French governor of Canada) and his "Indian children."

   Although the French fur trade had been at the root of the Beaver Wars which almost destroyed the Winnebago, it also saved them from extinction. As peace was restored, the Winnebago accepted the Algonquin refugees in Wisconsin and began to intermarry with them adapting parts of their culture in the process. The exception, of course, being that there was nothing the French could do to end the Winnebago's hatred of the Illinois. The peace lasted thirteen years, until the Beaver Wars renewed to the south in 1680 between the Iroquois and Illinois. The Winnebago must have taken a certain pleasure during the next two years while Seneca war parties struck the Illinois with genocidal effect. During 1684, however, the Iroquois failed to take Fort St. Louis on the upper Illinois River after which the tide turned. The French strengthened their forts, provided firearms to their allies, and organized an alliance to fight the Iroquois.

   The alliance took the offensive in 1687, and by 1690 the Iroquois were on the defensive and retreating towards their New York homeland. The warfare (coinciding with the King William's War (1688-97) between Britain and France) continued until a peace was signed in 1701 which left the French and their allies in control of the Great Lakes. Still recovering their population, Winnebago participation in this victory was minimal but the benefits enormous. With the Iroquois defeated, refugees began leaving Wisconsin for new homes to the south and east. This relieved the overcrowding and competition for resources, and after 60-years, the Winnebago regained most of their homeland. Meantime, the French fur trade had continued unrestricted and by the 1690s had produced a glut of fur on the European market. The resulting price drop motivated the French monarchy to finally listen to protests from Jesuit missionaries about the corruption the fur trade was creating among Native Americans. In 1696 licenses were revoked and trade suspended in the western Great Lakes.

   Since the French alliance was based on trade, it was a terrible decision. Even while they were going down in defeat, the Iroquois sensed the French vulnerability and began to offer French allies access to British traders at Albany. Suspecting the French would make their own peace with the Iroquois, the alliance began to unravel, and the French had great difficulty getting their allies to agree to the peace signed with the Iroquois in 1701. Urgent appeals sent to Paris from Canada asking for a resumption of trade in the Great Lakes brought limited relief in 1701 when Antoine Cadillac was allowed to build Fort Pontchartrain at Detroit to trade with the Great Lakes tribes. Cadillac quickly invited just about every tribe in the region to move to Detroit, and the result was overcrowding and warfare between former allies. Rather than solving the problem, it further strained what remained of the French alliance and during 1712 erupted into the First Fox War (1712-16).

   Following confrontations with neighboring tribes, the Fox, Kickapoo, and Mascouten attacked the French at Fort Pontchartrain. In midst of the siege, Ottawa, Huron, and Potawatomi warriors arrived to save the French and killed most of the Fox. The survivors retreated west to southern Wisconsin from where they continued to war on the French and their allies. Although the Winnebago had helped the Fox drive the Kaskaskia (part of the hated Illinois) from southern Wisconsin in 1700, they had never left Wisconsin. When the war between the French and Fox moved west, the Winnebago remained neutral. The French used Potawatomi allies to defeat the Kickapoo and Mascouten taking them out of the war, but an expedition against a Fox fort in southern Wisconsin ended in frustration. Afterwards, the French offered peace, and the Fox accepted. The fighting stopped, but neither side, trusted the other.

   Unfortunately, it did not end the fighting between the Fox and Peoria (Illinois) after the Peoria refused to return Fox prisoners captured at Detroit in 1712. French attempts to mediate failed, and the war spread as the Mascouten and Kickapoo joined the Fox against the Peoria. By 1724 the Fox had added the Winnebago and Dakota to their side, and the French began to suspect the Fox were forming an alliance against them. With the Illinois getting the worst of it, the French decided to intervene in 1726 and sent an expedition against the Fox. Like their previous efforts to subdue a tribe they considered a troublemaker, this accomplished nothing, and the French decided to exterminate the Fox. However, they first took the precaution of isolating the Fox from their allies. The Dakota dropped out, and then the Winnebago.

   With the outbreak of the Second Fox War (1728-37), the Winnebago switched to the French. During the winter of 1729, a combined Winnebago, Menominee, Ojibwe war party attacked a Fox hunting party killing at least 80 warriors and capturing some 70 women and children. The French, in the meantime, had reoccupied their old fort at La Baye to prosecute the war against the Fox. Concerned about Fox retaliation, the Winnebago moved close to Green Bay and built a fort on an island in the Fox River. The Fox found them but the fort was too strong for direct attack, so they laid siege. To appease the Fox, the Winnebago seized two Menominee who had married into their tribe and killed them. The headless bodies were thrown outside the fort with the explanation that the Winnebago had killed them because they were part of the war party which had attacked the Fox. This did not satisfy the Fox who continued the siege. The French finally arrived from Green Bay with 34 Menominee warriors to help the Winnebago, but when the Menominee learned what had happened, it was all the French could do to stop them, with Fox warriors just outside the gate, from killing every Winnebago in sight.

   The Fox eventually abandoned the siege, after which the Winnebago made amends with the Menominee who had always been their allies. The war continued during which the Mascouten and Kickapoo ended their alliance with the Fox after a fatal argument over French prisoners. Without allies, the Fox decided in 1730 to leave Wisconsin and flee east to the Iroquois. Caught in the open in northern Illinois, they were almost annihilated by the French and their allies. The few remaining Fox found refuge with the Sauk living near Green Bay, but the French were determined to finish the Fox and dispatched an expedition in 1734 to demand the Sauk surrender the Fox. This was refused, and in the battle which followed, the French commander was killed. In the confusion, the Sauk and Fox escaped and fled west of the Mississippi into Iowa. Another French expedition against them failed in 1736, and at a conference held in Montreal during the spring of 1737, the Winnebago and Menominee asked the French to show mercy to the Fox while the Potawatomi and Ottawa made the same request on behalf of the Sauk.

   The French reluctantly agreed and made peace. The departure of the Fox and Sauk from Wisconsin provided the Winnebago an opportunity to expand their range to the south and west. Although some Winnebago remained in the vicinity of Green Bay after 1741, most moved their villages inland. Since the animal populations near Green Bay had never recovered from the stress placed on them by the refugees during the 1600s, the Winnebago had been forced to make longer and longer trips inland to feed themselves and find the furs they needed for trade with the French. Although the Dakota and Ojibwe were at war with each other over hunting territory in western Wisconsin, neither objected to Winnebago hunters in the area. The Menominee enjoyed the same immunity, but in their case, the Fox and Sauk were a serious threat. The Winnebago were able to establish a friendly relationship with the Fox and Sauk after 1737, but the Menominee could not.

   Little fighting occurred in the western Great Lakes during the King George's War (1744-48), but Winnebago warriors travelled east to Montreal with the Ottawa, Menominee, Saulteur and Mississauga Ojibwe, Illinois, Potawatomi, and Huron to defend Quebec from the British. The capture of the French fortress at Louisbourgh in 1745 allowed a British blockade of the St. Lawrence which cut the supply of French trade goods. The effect was immediate, and the French quickly lost control of their allies in the the Great Lakes. Nowhere was this more apparent than with the increasingly beleaguered Illinois. In 1746 while the Winnebago and Menominee were fighting the Missouri west of the Mississippi, the Mascouten, Potawatomi, Menominee, and Ojibwe joined to force the Peoria from their last strongholds in southern Wisconsin. Without the leverage of their trade goods, the French were powerless to protect the Illinois, and the other Algonquin continued to attack them. Between 1751 and 1754, the Mascouten, Kickapoo, and Potawatomi took more territory from the Peoria - this time in northern Illinois.

   With the start of the French and Indian War (1755-63), the Winnebago once again went east to fight for the French. They helped to defeat Braddock at Fort Duquesne and also fought at Oswego and in the French campaign in northern New York in 1757. They paid a terrible price when Great Lakes warriors contracted smallpox at Fort William Henry and brought it back with them to their villages that winter. Smallpox swept through the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley taking most the western tribes out of the war. Meanwhile, a British blockade was having the same effect it had in 1746 in stopping French trade goods. Dissatisfaction resulted, and during the winter of 1758, an Menominee uprising at Green Bay killed 22 French soldiers. After the capture of Quebec by the British in September, 1759. France had lost the war in North America. Montreal surrendered the following year, and British soldiers occupied Green Bay in 1761.

   The breakdown of French authority in the region had brought the Winnebago, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Winnebago at Green Bay to the verge of war with the Michilimackinac Ojibwe in 1761, but the British assumed the old French role of mediator and provider of trade goods. In preventing the outbreak of serious warfare, the British won the trust and loyalty of the Winnebago and Menominee. With the start of the Pontiac Rebellion in 1763, the Winnebago (also the Menominee, Sauk, Fox, Iowa and Arbre Croche Ottawa) sent wampum belts to the British as a token of their loyalty. Pontiac's revolt quickly collapsed, and discredited among his own people after signing a peace with the British in 1766, he abandoned his village near Detroit and moved to northern Illinois where he still had a loyal following. In 1769 he was murdered by the nephew of a Peoria chief during a visit to Cahokia (just east of St. Louis). Almost all of tribes of the old French alliance united in a war against the Illinois and almost exterminated them. The Peoria made their last stand at Starved Rock that year from which fewer than 200 reached safety at the French settlement of Kaskaskia. After a long wait, the Winnebago finally had their revenge against the Illinois. The victors then occupied much of the Illinois territory - the Winnebago's share was a portion of northwest Illinois valued because of its lead deposits.

   During the next 50 years, the Winnebago would ally with the British by fighting both the Spanish and Americans during the Revolutionary War (1775-83) and The Americans during the War of 1812 (1812-14). Early fighting in the west during the Revolutionary War was mostly confined to Ohio and Kentucky and did not involve the Winnebago. George Rogers Clark's capture of the Illinois country in 1778 created alarm. and the British moved to reconcile disputes between the Great Lakes tribes and to use them against the Americans. To this end, they settled the lingering hostility between the Green Bay tribes and the Michilimackinac Ojibwe as well as other disputes between the Ojibwe, Fox, and Sauk. and the Potawatomi and Miami. This allowed the Winnebago (also Fox, Sauk, Potawatomi, Dakota, and Menominee) in 1780 to join an unsuccessful British effort to capture St. Louis from the Spanish (Spain had joined the war against Britain) and retake Illinois from the Americans. The Revolutionary War "officially" ended in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris, but in the Ohio Valley, the British continued to occupy Detroit and their other forts on American territory until the United States paid its treaty obligations to British loyalists.

   In the meantime, the British encouraged the formation of a western alliance to keep the Americans out of Ohio. They succeeded until the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Winnebago in Wisconsin were too far away to participate in this effort, but the British dominated the tribes and trade of the Upper Great Lakes until the 1830s. Intertribal warfare during the 1770s and 80s had hindered the fur trade, and at the request of Montreal fur traders, the British met with the tribes of upper Great Lakes at Michilimackinac in October, 1786. The treaty signed there produced 20 years of peace with the exception of the war between the Dakota and Ojibwe which continued until the 1850s. This, however, was not a problem for the Winnebago who were friendly with both parties and free to hunt in the war zone between them. They also maintained a friendship with the Fox and Sauk living along the Mississippi in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, and it can be said that during this period the Winnebago lived in peace with very few enemies. However, their ties to the Fox and Sauk and those lead deposits in northwest Illinois would soon bring this to an end.

   The United States purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France in 1803 changed the Winnebago's homeland from being at the edge to the center of American territory. Before this, the Winnebago had known the Americans as a distant enemy. Aside from their foray into the Illinois with the British in 1780, the Winnebago had never really met an American. This changed when Zebulon Pike's expedition explored the upper Mississippi in 1805. His meeting with the Winnebago near Prairie du Chien was peaceful, but the Winnebago soon had reason to worry. During 1804 William Henry Harrison entertained a visiting Fox and Sauk delegation at St. Louis and, after getting them drunk, succeeded in convincing them to sign away their tribe's lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for a few presents. Next came Fort Madison, the first American fort on the upper Mississippi, built in southeast Iowa in 1809 and garrisoned with 50 soldiers.

   The Fox and Sauk refused to acknowledge the 1804 treaty and instantly became hostile to the Americans. The Winnebago were also concerned because of the lead deposits in their lands in northwest Illinois. In 1788 the Fox had allowed Julien Dubuque, a French-Canadian from Michilimackinac, to open a lead mine near the site of the Iowa city which now bears his name. Dubuque obtained a Spanish land grant to the site in 1796 and became wealthy from fur trading and lead mining. When he died in 1810, St.Louis creditors and land speculators attempted to seize his holdings, but the Fox and Sauk prevented this by burning Dubuque's buildings to the ground. The threat of American takeover was no longer a distant threat in Ohio, and the Winnebago listened with great interest in 1809 to the religion of Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet and the call for unity and no further land cessions by his brother Tecumseh. Within a short time, the Winnebago were one of the most militant members of Tecumseh's alliance against the Americans.

   The Winnebago began making regular visits to Prophetstown (Tippecanoe) in Indiana during 1810 and even established a permanent village (Village du Puant) nearby. Tecumseh went south in the fall of 1811 to enlist the southern tribes against the Americans, During his absence, the Potawatomi attacked American settlements in Illinois starting a frontier war. William Henry Harrison, the governor of the Indiana Territory, organized an army and in November marched on Prophetstown. Tenskwatawa ignored his brother's instructions to avoid any confrontation with the Americans while he was absent and ordered his warriors to attack. The Winnebago lost heavily at the Battle of Tippecanoe, but the military defeat was not nearly as important as the damage done to Tensquatawa's reputation as a prophet. Angry Winnebago warriors held him prisoner for two weeks and almost killed him. When Tecumseh returned in January, 1812, his alliance was in shambles, but he able to rebuild and soon regained the allegiance of the Winnebago. With the outbreak of the War of 1812 (1812-14) in June, the Winnebago threw their support to Tecumseh and the British.

   With the Fox, Sauk, and Potawatomi, the Winnebago besieged Fort Madison and forced its abandonment in 1813. Winnebago warriors also fought as part of Tecumseh's forces at Maumee Rapids and River Raisin in Ohio and Michigan. After Tecumseh was killed at the Battle of the Thames (October, 1813), the Winnebago joined 500 warriors from the upper Great Lakes to help the British defeat the American attempt to retake Fort Michilimackinac in August, 1814. The War of 1812 ended in a stalemate between the British and Americans, but for the tribes of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley it was total defeat. The Winnebago made peace with the Americans at St. Louis in June, 1816. Their first treaty with the United States did not involve land cessions and called upon both sides to forgive and forget injuries suffered during the war. The Winnebago kept their part of the agreement but remained hostile. They allowed Americans to travel through their territory from Mississippi to the Fox portage but charged tolls.

   After the War of 1812, settlement began to advance up the Mississippi from St. Louis, but warfare in Iowa and Minnesota between the Dakota, Ojibwe, Fox, and Sauk slowed its progress. The government in 1825 attempted to end the fighting at a grand council held with the area's tribes at Prairie du Chien. Attended by the Ojibwe, Fox, Sauk, Menominee, Iowa, Sioux, Winnebago, Ottawa, and Potawatomi, the resulting treaty attempted to end intertribal warfare by establishing boundaries between them. It also created a 40-mile wide buffer zone between the Dakota, Fox and Sauk in northeast Iowa. Called the Neutral Ground, the Americans hoped to relocate the Winnebago there since they were friendly with both sides, but the Winnebago did not share the Americans optimism for this arrangement. Since its purpose was to facilitate settlement, the treaty made almost no provision to protect native lands from white encroachment. It had only limited success in preventing warfare, but settlement afterwards moved north at an accelerated pace.

   During the next 15 years the Winnebago would be forced to surrender most of their homeland. The first target was the lead deposits in northwest Illinois, and in what can be described as the first (and last) "lead rush," Americans rushed in to stake their claims. Government agents described these people as "lawless" but did nothing to prevent encroachment. Less than two years after the Treaty of Prairie du Chien, the Winnebago were forced into war to defend their lands. The resistance, known as the Winnebago War (1827), was led by the Winnebago Prophet White Cloud and the war chief Red Bird. Fighting began in the summer of 1827 when a barge ascending the Mississippi near Prairie du Chien was fired upon. Other attacks killed some settlers along the lower Wisconsin River and struck the lead mines near Galena, Illinois. Soldiers were rushed north from Jefferson Barracks at St. Louis, and by August it was over. Faced with a war they could not win, Red Bird and White Cloud surrendered themselves to be hanged to save their people. Red Bird died in prison, but White Cloud was pardoned by the president and released. Meanwhile, in a treaty signed a Green Bay in August, 1828, the Winnebago (also Ojibwe, Potawatomi, and Ottawa) ceded northern Illinois for $540,000.

   With the lead mining district secured, the next victims were the Fox and Sauk in western Illinois. As a condition of peace in 1816, the United States had finally gotten their reluctant acceptance of that dubious treaty signed at St. Louis in 1804 ceding all of their lands east of the Mississippi. The bait was that the Fox and Sauk could stay until the Americans needed the land. Most likely. neither the Fox, Sauk nor the American representatives realized how soon this would be. Illinois became a state in 1818 and within ten years was pressing for removal. Blackhawk's Sauk at Rock Island refused to move, but after the Menominee and Dakota murdered 15 Fox chiefs enroute to a meeting with the Americans at Prairie du Chien, war seemed eminent. Blackhawk brought his people west into Iowa to protect the Fox and Sauk villages there from Dakota attacks which never came. When he started back to Illinois, the Americans refused to allow him to recross the Mississippi.

   Throughout the winter of 1831-32, the old war chief sat in eastern Iowa and fumed. In his anger, he listened to arguments from his friend Neapope and the Winnebago Prophet (White Cloud) convincing him the British and other tribes were ready to join him against the Americans. In the spring he defiantly crossed the river into Illinois touching off the Blackhawk War (1832). The help did not materialize. Only a few Potawatomi and White Cloud's small following among the Winnebago joined the revolt. Pursued by the army and Illinois militia, Blackhawk retreated towards Wisconsin hoping to reach safety with either the Winnebago or Ojibwe. Most Winnebago wanted nothing to do with him and refused to help. Finally realizing this, Blackhawk turned west to try to return to Iowa. He never made it. Trapped between an American army and gunboat at the mouth of the Bad Axe River, the Sauk were slaughtered before surrendering. Menominee and Dakota warriors killed many of those who managed to elude capture by the Americans.

   A marked man, Blackhawk escaped before the battle and fled north. He was captured by the Winnebago of Chief Spoon Decorah (Choukeka), a friend of the Americans, who delivered him to the Indian Agent at Prairie du Chien. Despite this, the general feeling among the Americans was that the Winnebago had cooperated with Blackhawk. By the harsh terms of the treaty negotiated by General Winfield Scott at Fort Armstrong in September, 1832, the Winnebago ceded their lands east of the Mississippi and agreed to move to Neutral Ground in northeast Iowa. They were to receive $270,000 ($10,000/year for 27 years) and were required to surrender several of their tribesmen accused of murdering whites during the war. Settlement moved into southern Wisconsin afterwards, but the Winnebago remained in their old lands, primarily because of hostility among the Fox and Sauk for the Winnebago's failure to help them during the Blackhawk War.

   One out of four Winnebago died during a smallpox epidemic in 1836, which may have been a not-so-subtle hint for them to leave Wisconsin. A second treaty signed at Washington, D.C. in 1837 confirmed the Winnebago cession of Wisconsin and reduced the size of the Neutral Ground, but the Winnebago did not leave until 1840 when General Henry Atkinson refused to make their annuities except at the Turkey River Subagency (Decorah, Iowa). By 1842 approximately 2,200 Winnebago had settled in villages near the agency which was guarded by cavalry stationed nearby at Fort Atkinson, a necessary precaution since the threat of attack by the Fox and Sauk was very real. During the winter of 1839, they had killed 40 members of a Winnebago hunting party west of Wapsipinicon River. The following year, Fox and Sauk decided to attack the Winnebago villages near the agency but were only prevented by a unusually heavy snowfall that winter. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Winnebago had remained in their homeland giving Fort Atkinson's cavalry the added problem of keeping the Iowa Winnebago from going back to Wisconsin.

   With Iowa statehood in 1846, it was time for the Winnebago to be moved again. In a 1845 treaty, the Winnebago exchanged their Iowa lands for the 800,000 acre Long Prairie (Crow Wing River) reserve in Minnesota and $190,000. The move ended the threat of the Fox and Sauk, but placed the Winnebago as a buffer between the Dakota and Ojibwe. Some Winnebago managed to remain in northeast Iowa for more than a century, but the main group was moved during 1848 and 1849. The new location was unsatisfactory from the beginning. Not only was there poor soil and a short growing season, but the Ojibwe used the agency as a way-station to attack the Dakota. In a treaty signed in 1856, the government allowed the Winnebago to exchange the Long Prairie reserve from another farther south in Minnesota at Blue Earth. As their population declined, the Winnebago surrendered a part of this in 1859 as excess lands.

   All went well until the Dakota uprising erupted in the Minnesota River Valley during 1862 killing over 400 whites. The Winnebago had no part in this, but in the aftermath, Minnesota was no longer safe. The Winnebago were forcibly gathered together and deported by steamboat down the Mississippi and then up the Missouri to the Crow Creek reservation in South Dakota with the Yankton (Sioux). Some got to leave the steamboat at Hannibal, Missouri and travel by train to St. Joseph where they were put back on a boat for the rest of their journey up the Missouri. Even allowing that the Civil War was in progress, conditions were terrible at the South Dakota reservation. Many Winnebago slipped away to return to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Finally, the remaining 1,200 left enmass and fled down the Missouri to ask the Omaha in eastern Nebraska for a refuge.

   The government finally accepted their self-relocation and in 1865 purchased 40,000 acres from the Omaha to provide the Winnebago with their own reservation. Life in Nebraska was far from easy, and exposed to Lakota (Sioux) raids, many of the Nebraska Winnebago volunteered as army scouts against Lakota during 1868. While Winnebago were serving as scouts, the Indian Bureau - in its wisdom - conceived a plan of relocating the Winnebago to North Dakota as a buffer between the Lakota and the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. For some reason, the Winnebago declined. Meanwhile, the Winnebago in Wisconsin were routinely being arrested and returned to Nebraska. Within a month, they were usually back in Wisconsin. After ten years of this game, the government gave up after 1875, purchased homestead lands for the Winnebago, and let them stay in Wisconsin. During the 1880s, over half of the Nebraska Winnebago went home to Wisconsin where they have remained ever since scattered across ten counties. The other Winnebago remained in Nebraska although 1/3 of their original 40,000 acre reservation was eventually lost to whites through allotment after 1887.


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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2007, 05:48:36 AM »


Algonkin Location

The Ottawa River Valley which forms the present border between Ontario and Quebec.


   At the time of their first meeting with the French in 1603, the various Algonkin bands probably had a combined population somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000. The British estimate in 1768 was 1,500. Currently, there are almost 8,000 Algonkin in Canada organized into ten separate First Nations: nine in Quebec and one in Ontario.


   Both Algonkin and Algonquin are correct spellings for the name of the tribe, but Algonquian either refers to their language or, collectively, to the group of tribes that speak related Algonquian languages. The source of Algonkin is unclear. Other than the names of their bands, the Algonkin do not appear to have had a name for themselves as a people. Some researchers have suggested that Algonkin came from the Maliseet word for "ally," but others prefer the Micmac's "algoomeaking" that translates roughly as "place of spearing fish from the bow of a canoe." The most likely possibility is the Maliseet word "allegonka" meaning "dancers," which Samuel de Champlain might have mistaken for their tribal name while watching a combined Algonkin, Maliseet, and Montagnais victory dance in 1603. The first group of Algonkin that the French encountered were the Kichesipirini who, because their village was located on an island in the Ottawa River, were called "La Nation de l'Ilse." At first, Algonkin was used only for a second group, the Weskarini. However, by 1615 the name was applied to all of the Algonkin bands living along the Ottawa River.

   The Iroquois usually referred to them as the Adirondack, a derogatory name meaning literally "they eat trees," but they also used the name for several other Algonquian-speaking tribes south of the St. Lawrence. Among themselves, the Algonkin differentiated between bands which remained in the upper Ottawa Valley year-round and those that moved to the St. Lawrence River during the summer - the northerners being called "Nopiming daje Inini" (inlanders). The French translated this as Gens des Terres and, in the process, sometimes confused them with Tetes de Boule, their name for the Attikamek (different Algonquian language) who were part of the Montagnais or Cree.


   Algonquian. If for no other reason, the Algonkin would be famous because their name has been used for the largest native language group in North America. The downside is the confusion generated, and many do not realize there actually was an Algonkin tribe, or that all Algonquian do not belong to the same tribe. Algonquian is a family of related languages, but it has many dialects, not all of which are mutually intelligible. Algonquian-speaking peoples dominated most of the northeastern North America with the exception of Iroquian-speakers in New York, northern Pennsylvania and southern Ontario. Their range extended from Hudson Bay southward along the Atlantic coast to North Carolina and west to the Mississippi River. On the Great Plains, Algonquian-speakers would include Cheyenne, Arapaho, Gros Ventres, Blackfoot, Cree, and Ojibwe, and some have even suggested that the Wiyot and Yurok in northern California speak a distant form of Algonquian. The dialect of the Algonkin themselves is closely related to that of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi making the Algonkin the easternmost speakers of this group. Although there is some variation between the different Algonkin bands, most still prefer their traditional language with French or English being spoken only when necessary.

Sub-Nations Algonkin bands in 1630:

Iroquet - Known to the Huron as the Atonontrataronon or Ononchataronon, they lived along Ontario's South Nation River.

   Kichesipirini "people of the great river" - largest and most powerful group of Algonkin. Known variously as: Algoumequins de l'Isle, Allumette, Big River People, Gens d l'Isle, Honkeronon (Huron), Island Algonkin, Island Indians, Island Nation, Kichesippiriniwek, Nation de l'Isle, Nation of the Isle, and Savages de l'Isle. Main village was on Morrison's (Allumette) Island.

   Kinounchepirini (Keinouche, Kinonche, Pickerel, Pike) - sometimes listed as an Algonkin band, but after 1650 associated with the Ottawa. Originally found along the lower Ottawa River below Allumette Island.

   Matouweskarini (Madawaska, Madwaska, Matouchkarine, Matouashita, Mataouchkarini, Matouechkariniwek, Matouescarini). The Madawaska River in the Upper Ottawa Valley.

   Nibachis - Muskrat Lake near present-day Cobden, Ontario. Otaguottaouemin (Kotakoutouemi, Outaoukotwemiwek). Upper Ottawa River above Allumette Island.

Otaguottaouemin - (Kotakoutouemi, Outaoukotwemiwek)


Sagaiguninini - (Saghiganirini)

Saginitaouigama - (Sagachiganiriniwek)

   Weskarini - (Algonkin Proper, La Petite Nation, Little Nation, Ouaouechkairini, Ouassouarini, Ouescharini, Ouionontateronon (Huron), Petite Nation) - North side of the Ottawa River along the Lievre and the Rouge Rivers in Quebec.

   Later bands or names associated with the Algonkin: Abitibi (Abitibiwinni), Barriere, Bonnechere, Dumoine, Kipawa, Lac des Quinze, Mainwawaki (Mainwaki), Mitchitamou, Ouachegami, Outchatarounounga, Outimagami, Outurbi, Tadoussac, Temagami, Timiskaming (Temiskaming, Timiscimi).

Current Bands


   Barriere Lake (Lac Rapide, Rapid Lake), Dominion Abitibi(Abitibiwinni, Pikogan), Eagle Village (Kebaowek, Kipawa), Kitcisakik (Grand Lake Victoria), Kitigan Zibi (Maniwaki, River Desert), Lac-Simon, Timiscamigue (Timiskaming, Notre Dame du Nord, Ville Marie), Winneway (Long Point), and Wolf Lake (Hunter's Point).
Golden Lake (Pikwakanagan)


   Too far north for agriculture, most Algonkin were loosely organized into small, semi-nomadic bands of hunter-gatherers. In this, they resembled the closely related Ojibwe. The Algonkin lived somewhat outside the wild rice region which provided an important part of the diet for other tribes in the northern Great Lakes. Although a few southern bands were just beginning to grow corn in 1608, the Algonkin relied heavily on hunting for their food which made them excellent hunters and trappers, skills which quickly attracted the attention of French fur traders after 1603. The Algonkin also made good use of their birch-bark canoes to travel great distances for trade, and their strategic location on the Ottawa River became the preferred route between the French on the St. Lawrence River and the tribes of the western Great Lakes. Groups of Algonkin would gather during the summer for fishing and socializing, but at the approach of winter, they separated into small hunting camps of extended families. The climate was harsh, with starvation not uncommon. For this reason, the Algonkin could not afford for someone to become a burden, and were known to kill their sick, crippled, or badly wounded.

   Beside a common language, most Algonquian-speaking tribes shared comparable creation stories and religious beliefs: a great spirit or supreme creator; lessor spirits who controlled the elements; a hero figure who taught their people the skills they needed to survive; evil spirits who caused mischief, misfortune, or illness; and good spirits who helped the worthy and punished wrongdoers. There was also a shared belief in a life after death where the spirits of dead men pursued the spirits of dead animals. However, in contrast to Christian beliefs, the Algonkin had no concept of a hell or place of eternal punishment. Dreams were of particular importance to the Algonquian peoples, and proper interpretation was an important responsibility of their shamans whose other duties included communication with the spirit world, guiding men's lives, and healing the sick. On the dark side, there was an almost universal fear of witchcraft, and Algonquian peoples, the Algonkin included, were very reluctant to mention their real names to prevent possible misuse by enemies with spiritual power and evil intent. In various degrees, these beliefs were shared by most native peoples in North America.

   The Algonkin were patrilineal with the right to use specific hunting territories being passed from father to son, but some Algonquian tribes used matrilineal descent (traced through the mother) in determining kinship. The Iroquois to the west and south of the Algonkin were matrilineal and differed from the Algonkin in several important ways. The most obvious being that the Iroquois relied heavily on agriculture and lived in large fortified villages. The Iroquois also had a highly developed central political organization, while the Algonkin did not. Despite this, the Algonkin were formidable warriors who used their advantages in transportation and woodland skills to dominate the Iroquois before the formation of the Iroquian confederacies. When one thinks of how powerful the Iroquois ultimately became, it was a remarkable achievement.


   The Algonkin maintain that their ancestors originally migrated to the upper St. Lawrence Valley from the east, a tradition they share with the closely related Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi. The timing of this seems to have been sometime around 1400, but when Jacques Cartier made his first visit to the St. Lawrence River in 1534, he found Iroquois-speaking peoples living along the river between Quebec (Stadacona) and the rapids at Montreal (Hochelaga). It is unclear whether these people were Iroquois or Huron, but by the time the French made their first permanent settlement in this area seventy years later, these so-called "Laurentian" Iroquois had disappeared, the apparent casualties of a Iroquois-Algonquian war which had occurred in the interim. Some Algonkin say that they lived in peace with the Iroquois at Hochelaga and may even have absorbed some of them. The Iroquois version is significantly different and tells of an earlier time before they united under the Iroquois League when the Algonkin dominated the badly-divided Iroquois and forced them to pay tribute. This situation changed with the formation of the League, and after 50 years of warfare, the Iroquois had driven the Adirondack and their allies from the Adirondack Mountains and the upper Hudson Valley.

   This was where things stood when Samuel de Champlain established the first permanent French settlement on the St. Lawrence at Tadoussac in 1603. Towards the end of May, he met with a Montagnais chief and was invited to attend a feast celebrating the success of a recent raid against the Iroquois. Dressed in his finest, Champlain attended and was introduced to the Montagnais allies, the Etchemin (Maliseet) and Algonkin. He soon learned that there had been continuous war between these three allies and the Iroquois since 1570. Despite the fact that he was entering a war zone, Champlain was so impressed with the Algonkin's furs that in July he explored the St. Lawrence as far west as the Lachine Rapids. Champlain left for France shortly afterwards, but upon his return in 1608, he immediately moved his fur trade upstream to a new post at Quebec to shorten the distance that the Algonkin were required to travel for trade. He soon discovered that Algonkin victories over the Iroquois were not that common, and it was the Mohawk, not the Algonkin, who dominated the upper river. At the time, it was possible to travel the entire length of the upper St. Lawrence without seeing another human being. The Algonkin usually avoided the river because of the threat of Mohawk war parties.

   Champlain was anxious to conclude treaties with both the Algonkin and Montagnais to preclude competition from his European rivals. However, the Algonkin, Montagnais, and their Huron allies were reluctant to commit themselves to the long, dangerous journey to Quebec unless the French were willing to help them in their war against the Mohawk. In June, 1609 Champlain was leading a French exploration west of Quebec when he encountered a group of 300 Algonkin and Montagnais under the Weskarini sachem Iroquet and 100 Huron led by their war chief Ochasteguin, Champlain seized this opportunity to show his support for his new trading partners and unwittingly allowed the French to be drawn into an intertribal war. In July the French joined the Algonkin, Montagnais, and Huron at the mouth of the Richelieu River for an invasion of the Mohawk homeland. The warriors enthusiasm for this venture had already cooled, and many of them departed once they had completed their trading with the French.

   Champlain, however, was determined to see it through to the end. Tensions increased as the combined war party moved south, and when the French boat was stopped by shallow water, Champlain allowed nine of his men to turn back while he and two volunteers climbed into the Algonkin canoes. By the time it reached Lake Champlain in northern New York (which Champlain promptly named for himself), the war party was down to 60 warriors and three Frenchmen in 24 canoes. At the south end of the lake, they encountered Mohawk warriors massing in anticipation of a battle. However, it was late in the evening, and after some negotiation, both sides decided to wait until morning when the light would be better. The next day the Mohawk massed for battle, but French firearms shattered their formation killing two of their war chiefs. Confronted by strange new weapons, the Mohawk turned and fled.

   The Algonkin were delighted with their victory, and the French got the treaties and fur trade they had wanted. The following year, Champlain participated in a second attack against a Mohawk fort on the Richelieu River. Although they were not given any firearms during the early years, the steel weapons received through their trade with the French were sufficient for the Algonkin and their allies to drive the Mohawk well south of the St. Lawrence River during 1610. The Algonkin advantage was only temporary. The Iroquois soon found another source of steel weapons through their trade with the Dutch along the lower Hudson River to the south. Fur from the Great Lakes flowed down the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers to the French at Quebec during the years which followed, and the Algonkin, led by their great war chief Pieskaret dominated the St. Lawrence Valley. However, the Iroquois remained a constant threat, and in winning the trade and friendship of the Algonkin, the French had made a dangerous enemy for themselves.

   It did not take long, for the focus of the fur trade to move farther west, because the French had already learned of the Huron who were allies of the Algonkin against the Iroquois. In 1611 �tienne Brule visited the Huron villages and spent the winter with them at the south end of Lake Huron's Georgian Bay. Champlain's initial impressions of the Huron had not been favorable, but Brul�'s glowing reports about the quality of their fur soon altered this opinion. Champlain made his first exploration of the Ottawa River during May, 1613 and reached the fortified Kichesipirini village at Morrison Island. Unlike the other Algonkin, the Kichesipirini did not change location with the seasons. They had chosen a strategic point astride the trade route between the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence and had prospered through the collection of tolls from native traders passing through their territory. They pointed with great pride to their corn fields, a skill that they seemed to have acquired just before the arrival of the French.

   They welcomed Champlain but, anxious to protect their trade monopoly with the French, were reluctant to allow him to proceed farther. However, the quantity and quality of the fur coming from the Huron could not be ignored, and in 1614 the French and Huron signed a formal treaty of trade and alliance at Quebec. The following year, Champlain, accompanied by four Recollect missionaries, made his second journey up the Ottawa River and, ignoring the Kichesipirini protests, proceeded to the Huron villages. While there, he participated in a Huron-Algonkin attack on the Oneida and Onondaga villages confirming in the minds of the Iroquois (in case they still had doubts) that the French were their enemies.

   After 1614, the focus of the French fur trade shifted from the Algonkin to the Huron, but because the Iroquois, the French found it prudent to make the long detour up the Ottawa Valley, then portage to Lake Nipissing and the French River, follow the east side of Lake Huron to the Huron villages. Although the French continued to trade with them, the Algonkin were somewhat annoyed by their demotion to secondary trading partner. The Kichesipirini, however, continued to profit by charging tolls for both French and native traders to pass through their territory. The effect obviously fell more heavily on natives, since firearms insured that the French usually paid less. Meanwhile, to the south in New York, the Mohawk had fought a series of wars against the Mahican whose location on the Hudson allowed them to control the access of the Iroquois to the Dutch. Because warfare was detrimental to trade, the Dutch had been quick to arrange peace between these rivals, but in 1624 the Mohawk discovered that the Mahican were attempting to act as middlemen by arranging trade between the Dutch and the Algonkin and Montagnais.

   The Iroquois had never accepted their loss of the St. Lawrence Valley in 1610 as permanent. When they became involved in wars with the Mahican, the Mohawk had made several attempts to settle their differences with the Algonkin and Montagnais. However, with the exception of a brief truce arranged at Trois Rivieres in 1622, fighting had continued between the Mohawk, Algonkin, and Montagnais. The possibility of the Mahican joining forces with their northern enemies was something the Mohawk were not willing to tolerate, and a war erupted in 1624 between the Mohawk and Mahican that the Dutch could not stop. After four years, the Mahican had been defeated and forced east of the Hudson River. The Dutch were forced to accept the outcome, and the Mohawk afterwards dominated the trade in the Hudson Valley. Unfortunately, the Iroquois by this time had exhausted the beaver in their homeland and needed additional hunting territory to maintain their position with the Dutch. Their inability to satisfy the demand for beaver was the very reason the Dutch had tried in 1624 to open trade with the Algonkin and Montagnais. The obvious direction for the Iroquois expansion was north, but the alliance of the Huron and Algonkin made this impossible. The Iroquois at first attempted diplomacy to gain permission, but the Huron and Algonkin refused, and with no other solution available, the Iroquois resorted to force. In what is generally considered the opening battle of the Beaver Wars (1630-1700), the Mohawk attacked the Algonkin-Montagnais trading village at Sillery (just outside Quebec) in 1629.

   By 1630 both the Algonkin and Montagnais needed French help to fight the Mohawk, but this was not available. Taking advantage of a European war between Britain and France, Sir David Kirke captured Quebec in 1629, and the British held Canada until 1632 when it was returned to France by the Treaty of St. Germaine en Laye. Those intervening three years were a disaster for the French allies. Since their own trade with the Dutch was not affected, the Mohawk were able to reverse their defeats during 1609-10. They reclaimed the territory surrendered in 1610 and drove the Algonkin and Montagnais from the upper St. Lawrence. When they returned to Quebec in 1632, the French attempted to restore the previous balance of power along the St. Lawrence by providing firearms to their allies. However, the initial sales were restricted to Christian converts which did not confer any real advantage to the Algonkin. The roving Algonkin bands had proven resistant to the initial missionary efforts of the "Black Robes, and the Jesuits had concentrated instead on the Montagnais and Huron.

   But the Kichesipirini's permanent village made them more susceptible to missionaries, and Jesuits were not above using the lure of firearms to help with conversions. Tessouat, the Kichesipirini sachem, could see that the new religion was dividing his people and opposed the Jesuits, even to the point of threatening to kill Algonkin converts. This not only earned him the active dislike of the French priests, but forced many of his people to leave their island fortress. Between 1630 and 1640, many of the Kichesipirini and Weskarini converts left the Ottawa Valley. They settled first at Trois Rivieres and then Sillery after a mission was built for them during 1637. The effect was to weaken the main body of traditional Algonkin defending the trade route through the Ottawa Valley, and the consequences quickly became apparent. The Dutch had reacted to the French arming their native allies with large sales of firearms to the Mohawk who passed these weapons along to the other Iroquois, and the whole ugly business of the fur trade degenerated into an arms race. After seven years of increasing violence, a peace was arranged in 1634 which allowed both sides to catch their breath. Unfortunately, the Algonkin used the pause to start trading with the Dutch in New York, a definite "no-no" so far as the Iroquois were concerned, and the war resumed.

   Weakened by the departure of their Christian tribesmen to Trois Rivieres and Sillery, the Algonkin could not stop the onslaught which followed. Iroquois offensives during 1636 and 1637 drove the Algonkin farther north into the upper Ottawa Valley and forced the Montagnais east towards Quebec. Only a smallpox epidemic, which began in New England during 1634 and then spread to New York and the St. Lawrence Valley, slowed the fighting. The real escalation occurred in 1640 when British traders on the Connecticut River in western Massachusetts attempted to lure the Mohawk from the Dutch with offers of guns. The Dutch responded to this latest threat to their trade monopoly by providing the Mohawk with as many of the latest, high-quality firearms as they wanted. The effect of this new firepower in the hands of Iroquois warriors was immediate. The Weskarini along the lower Ottawa River were forced to abandon their villages on the lower Ottawa River during 1640. Some moved north to the Kichesipirini fortress and continued to resist the Mohawk's occupation of their homeland. Others moved east and settled among the Christian Algonkin at Trois Rivieres and Sillery. By the spring of 1642, the Mohawk and Oneida had succeeded in completely driving the last groups of Algonkin and Montagnais from the upper St. Lawrence and lower Ottawa Rivers, while in the west, the Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga concentrated on their war with the Huron.

   To shorten the travel distance for Huron and Algonkin traders, the French in 1642 established a new post at Montreal (Ville Marie) on the large island near the mouth of the Ottawa River. However, this only seemed to make matters worse. The French were attacked while building Fort Richelieu, and the Iroquois soon bypassed the French settlement and sent war parties north into the Ottawa Valley to attack the Huron and Algonkin canoe fleets transporting fur to Montreal and Quebec. Through all of these years, the Iroquois had never dared to attack the Kichesipirini fortress, but in 1642 a surprise winter raid hit the Algonkin while most of their warriors were absent and inflicted severe casualties. The Iroquois tightened their stranglehold the following year. Trying to bolster their defense in the west, the French sent soldiers to the Huron mission at Sainte Marie and ordered the non-Christian Algonkin at Trois Rivieres and Sillery to return to the Ottawa Valley. However, with Iroquois along the lower river, most did not go beyond Montreal. Meanwhile, Tessouat had ended his opposition to Christianity and, to the delight of the Jesuits, requested baptism in March, 1643.

   During 1644 many of the Weskarini abandoned the struggle with the Mohawk for the lower Ottawa River and moved west to the Huron. Decimated by recent epidemics, the Huron by this time were under attack from the western Iroquois (Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca), so the Weskarini, who the Huron called the Atonontrataronon, were a welcome addition. They could not, however, reverse the deteriorating situation. With the departure of the Weskarini, the Mohawk were free to operate in force along the river and captured three large Huron canoe fleets bound for Montreal. This brought the French fur trade to a complete standstill, and Champlain's successor Charles Huault de Montmagmy (known to the Iroquois as Onontio "Big Mountain") had little choice but to seek peace. He ordered the release of several Mohawk prisoners and sent them to their people with the message that he wanted to talk. Having suffered severe losses from warfare and epidemic, the Mohawk were receptive, but they were also aware that the French were in serious trouble and therefore were prepared to drive a hard bargain.

   In July a Mohawk delegation arrived at Trois Rivieres for a preliminary discussion of the peace terms and requested a private meeting with the French. Montmagmy had as his advisors the Jesuits Barthelemy Vimont and Paul Le Jeune, and it soon became apparent that, while the Mohawk were willing to make peace with the French, they had no intention of extending the truce to the French allies. The Mohawk also had not been empowered to speak for other members of the Iroquois League which meant that any agreement would not protect the Huron and their allies in the west. Earlier that year, a combined Mohawk, Sokoki, and Mahican war party had attacked Sillery, the main Montagnais and Algonkin mission village outside Quebec. Vimont and Le Jeune were convinced that, with these new allies, the Mohawk were on the verge of destroying the Jesuit missions on the lower St. Lawrence. On their advice, Montmagmy finally agreed to a treaty permitting the French to resume their fur trade but containing a secret agreement requiring French neutrality in future wars between their allies and Iroquois in exchange for a Mohawk promise to refrain from attacks on the Algonkin and Montagnais villages at the Jesuit missions.

   Tessouat was now a Christian, but it is doubtful that he would have accepted any agreement which abandoned his non-Christian tribesmen to the Iroquois. By the time Tessouat and the other French allies signed the public version of the treaty signed at Trois Rivieres that September, Montmagmy, Vimont and Le Jeune had not bothered to inform them of the secret provisions The French allies were not the only ones kept in the dark. Well aware that the treachery would encounter strong objections from their fellow Jesuits, Vimont and Le Jeune did not disclose the full details of agreement to them for another year, and by then it was too late. Meanwhile, the Jesuits took advantage of the peace with the Mohawk to send Father Issac Jogues and two other Frenchmen to build a mission at the Mohawk villages. Accused of sorcery, they were murdered in October of 1646.

   Despite this incident, the Mohawk upheld their end of the bargain with the French, but the Oneida did not consider themselves bound by the agreement, and one of their war parties along the lower Ottawa River almost succeeded in killing Tessouat. Still, there was a pause in the fighting during which Huron and Algonkin furs flowed east to Quebec in unprecedented amounts, while the Iroquois renewed efforts to gain the permission of the Huron to hunt north of the St. Lawrence. Refused after two years of failed diplomacy, the Iroquois resorted to total war, but this time with the assurance that the French would remain neutral. While their Sokoki (western Abenaki) and Mahican went after the Montagnais, the Mohawk chose to ignore the distinction between Christian and non-Christian Algonkin. On March 6th (Ash Wednesday), 1647, a large Mohawk war party hit the Kichesipirini living near Trois Rivieres and almost exterminated them.

   With the Algonkin bands on the lower Ottawa River gone, not even a last-minute alliance of the Micmac, Montagnais and Nipissing could stop the Mohawk. Only the Iroquois League's preoccupation with their war against the Huron brought some measure of relief to the French allies in the east, but this ended in 1649 after the Iroquois overran and completely destroyed the Huron. As French and Indian refugees streamed down the Ottawa Valley to the relative safety of Montreal, Tessouat was still trying to collect tolls and ordered one of the Jesuits who refused him to be strung up by the heels. However, the Mohawk did not allow much more time for toll collections, and during 1650 the remaining Algonkin in the upper Ottawa Valley were attacked and overrun. The survivors retreated, either far to headwaters of the rivers feeding the Upper Ottawa River where the Cree afforded a certain amount of support and protection, or west to the vicinity of the Ottawa and Ojibwe. During the next twenty years, the Algonkin pretty much dropped out of sight so far as the French were concerned. Tessouat, however, visited Trois Rivi�res in 1651 and was promptly tossed in a dungeon for a few days because of his manhandling of the Jesuit priest two years earlier.

   During the years following the disaster of 1649, the French tried to continue their fur trade by asking native traders to bring their furs to Montreal. Protecting a fragile truce with the western Iroquois signed in 1653, the French avoided travel west of Montreal. The Iroquois never occupied the Ottawa Valley, but their war parties roamed its length during the 1650s and 60s making travel extremely dangerous for anything but large, heavily-armed convoys. Few tribes were willing to run the gauntlet that the Iroquois established along the river. War between the Iroquois and French resumed after the murder of a Jesuit ambassador in 1658. By 1664 the French had decided they had endured enough of living in constant fear of the Iroquois. The arrival of regular French troops in Quebec that year and their subsequent attacks on villages in the Iroquois homeland brought a lasting peace in 1667.

   Learning from their earlier mistakes, the French insisted that this agreement also include their allies and trading partners. This not only allowed French traders and missionaries to travel to the western Great Lakes, but permitted the Algonkin to begin a gradual return to northern part of the Ottawa Valley. Conquest and dispersal had been hard on them, and not many were left (perhaps 2,000). The epidemics which struck Sillery in 1676 and 1679 had reduced the Christian Algonkin survivors to only a handful, most of whom were subsequently absorbed by the Abenaki at St. Francois after the closure of the Sillery mission in 1685. During the 20-year absence of the Algonkin from the Ottawa Valley, the Ottawa had come to dominate the French fur trade with the western Great Lakes. So much so that any native fur trader visiting Montreal during this period was routinely referred to as an Ottawa even though many were Algonkin and Ojibwe. A even greater insult occurred when the name of the Grande Riviere des Algoumequins (Grand River of the Algonkins) was changed on French maps to the Riviere des Outauais. The change was permanent and persists today, although no Ottawa, other than the Kinounchepirini (Keinouche), were ever known to have lived along the Ottawa River.

   During the next fifty years the French established trading posts for the Algonkin at Abitibi and Temiscamingue at the north end of the Ottawa Valley. Missions were also built at Ile aux Tourtes and St. Anne de Boit de Ille, and in 1721 French missionaries convinced approximately 250 Nipissing and 100 Algonkin to join the 300 Christian Mohawk at the Sulpician mission village of Lake of Two Mountains (Lac des Deaux Montagnes) just west of Montreal. This strange mix of former enemies, both of whom had converted to Christianity and allied with the French, became known by both its Algonkin name Oka (pickerel), and the Iroquois form, Kanesatake (sandy place). For the most part, the Algonkin converts remained at Oka only during the summer and spent their winters at their traditional hunting territories in the upper Ottawa Valley. This arrangement served the French well, since the Algonkin converts at Oka maintained close ties with the northern bands and could call upon the inland warriors to join them in case of war with the British and Iroquois League.

   Because of the Algonkin converts at Oka, all of the Algonkin were committed to the French cause through a formal alliance known as the Seven Nations of Canada, or the Seven Fires of Caughnawaga. Members included: Caughnawaga (Mohawk), Lake of the Two Mountains (Iroquois, Algonkin, and Nipissing), St. Francois (Sokoki, Pennacook, and New England Algonquian), Becancour (Eastern Abenaki), Oswegatchie (Onondaga and Oneida), Lorette (Huron), and St. Regis (Mohawk). The Algonkin remained important French allies until the French and Indian War (1755-63) and the summer of 1760. By then, the British had captured Quebec and were close to taking the last French stronghold at Montreal. The war was over in North America, and the British had won. The Huron of Lorette were the first to understand this and signed a separate treaty with British that summer. In mid-August, the Algonkin and eight other former French allies met with the British representative, Sir William Johnson, and signed a treaty in which they agreed to remain neutral in futures wars between the British and French.

   This sealed the fate of the French at Montreal and North America, and further French efforts to keep their Canadian native allies in the war failed. After the war, Johnson used his influence with the Iroquois to merge the Iroquois League and the Seven Nations of Canada into a single alliance in the British interest. The sheer size of this group was an important reason the British were able to crush the Pontiac Rebellion west of the Appalachian Mountains in 1763 and quell the unrest created by the first white settlements in the Ohio Country during the years which followed. Johnson died suddenly in 1774, but his legacy lived on, and the Algonkin fought alongside the British during the American Revolution (1775-83) participating in St. Leger's campaign in the Mohawk Valley in 1778. The Algonkin homeland was supposed to be protected from settlement by the Proclamation of 1763 and the Quebec Act of 1774, but after the revolution ended in a rebel victory, thousands of British Loyalists (Tories) left the new United States and settled in Upper Canada.

   To provide land for these newcomers, the British government in 1783 chose to ignore the Algonkin in the lower Ottawa Valley and purchased parts of eastern Ontario from Mynass, a Mississauga (Ojibwe) chief. Despite this, Algonkin warriors fought beside the British during the War of 1812 (1812-14) and helped defeat the Americans at the Battle of Chateauguay. Their reward for this service was the continued loss of their land to individual land sales and encroachment by American Loyalists and British immigrants moving into the valley. The worse blow occurred when the British in 1822 were able to induce the Mississauga near Kingston, Ontario to sell most of what remained of the Algonkin holdings in the Ottawa Valley. Because few, if any, Mississauga actually lived there, the price paid for them to sell another people's land was virtually nothing. And for a second time, no one bothered to consult the Algonkin who had never surrendered their claim to the area but still received nothing from its sale. Further losses occurred during the 1840s as lumber interests moved into the Upper Ottawa Valley. Treaties and purchases by the Canadian government eventually established ten reserves that permitted the Algonkin to remain in the area, but like most Native Americans in both Canada and the United States, they were allowed to keep only a tiny portion of what once had been their original homeland.


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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2007, 06:08:51 AM »

Iroquois History

Iroquois Location

   The original homeland of the Iroquois was in upstate New York between the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls. Through conquest and migration, they gained control of most of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. At its maximum in 1680, their empire extended west from the north shore of Chesapeake Bay through Kentucky to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers; then north following the Illinois River to the south end of Lake Michigan; east across all of lower Michigan, southern Ontario and adjacent parts of southwestern Quebec; and finally south through northern New England west of the Connecticut River through the Hudson and upper Delaware Valleys across Pennsylvania back to the Chesapeake. With two exceptions - the Mingo occupation of the upper Ohio Valley and the Caughnawaga migration to the upper St. Lawrence - the Iroquois did not, for the most part, physically occupy this vast area but remained in their upstate New York villages.

   During the hundred years preceding the American Revolution, wars with French-allied Algonquin and British colonial settlement forced them back within their original boundaries once again. Their decision to side with the British during the Revolutionary War was a disaster for the Iroquois. The American invasion of their homeland in 1779 drove many of the Iroquois into southern Ontario where they have remained. With large Iroquois communities already located along the upper St. Lawrence in Quebec at the time, roughly half of the Iroquois population has since lived in Canada. This includes most of the Mohawk along with representative groups from the other tribes. Although most Iroquois reserves are in southern Ontario and Quebec, one small group (Michel's band) settled in Alberta during the 1800s as part of the fur trade.

  In the United States, much of the Iroquois homeland was surrendered to New York land speculators in a series of treaties following the Revolutionary War. Despite this, most Seneca, Tuscarora, and Onondaga avoided removal during the 1830s and have remained in New York. There are also sizeable groups of Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, and Caughnawaga still in the state. Most of the Oneida, however, relocated in 1838 to a reservation near Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Cayuga sold their New York lands in 1807 and moved west to join the Mingo relatives (Seneca of Sandusky) in Ohio. In 1831 this combined group ceded their Ohio reserve to the United States and relocated to the Indian Territory. A few New York Seneca moved to Kansas at this time but, after the Civil War, joined the others in northeast Oklahoma to become the modern Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma.


   Considering their impact on history, it is amazing how few Iroquois there were in 1600 - probably less than 20,000 for all five tribes. Their inland location protected them somewhat from the initial European epidemics, but these had reached them by 1650 and, combined with warfare, cut their population to about half of its original number. However, unlike other native populations which continued to drop, the Iroquois, through the massive adoption of conquored Iroquian-speaking enemies (at least 7,000 Huron, and similar numbers of Neutrals, Susquehannock, Tionontati, and Erie), actually increased and reached their maximum number in 1660, about 25,000. Absorption of this many outsiders was not without major problems - not the least of which was the Iroquois became a minority within their own confederacy.

   For the moment, the Iroquois talent for diplomacy and political unity kept things under control, but forces which would destroy them had been set in motion. On the positive side, the adoptions gave the Iroquois a claim to the lands of their former enemies beyond mere "right of conquest." Mass adoption, however, was not extended to non-Iroquian speaking tribes, and from this point the Iroquois population dropped. Despite the incorporation of 1,500 Tuscarora in 1722 as a sixth member of the League, the Iroquois numbered only 12,000 in 1768. By the end of the Revolutionary War, they were less than 8,000. From that point there has been a slow recovery followed by a recent surge as renewed native pride has prompted many to reclaim their heritage. The 1940 census listed only 17,000 Iroquois in both New York and Canada, but current figures approach 70,000 at about 20 settlements and 8 reservations in New York, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Ontario, and Quebec.

   Approximately 30,000 of these live in the United States. Of 3,500 Cayuga, 3,000 are in Canada as part of the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. The 500 in the United States live mostly on the Seneca Reservations in western New York. There are also Cayuga among the 2,500 member Seneca-Cayuga tribe in northeastern Oklahoma - descendents of the Mingo of Ohio. The Oneida were once one of the smaller Iroquois tribes but currently number more than 16,000. The largest group (almost 11,000) lives on or near their 2,200 acre reservation west of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Another 700 still live near Oneida, New York, but since their 32 acre reserve is so small, many are forced to live with the nearby Onondaga. Ontario has 4,600 Oneida split between the 2,800 Oneida of the Thames near London and the Grand River Reserve with the Six Nations.

   1,600 Onondaga still live in New York, mainly on a 7,300 acre reservation just south of Syracuse. Another 600 are at the Grand River Reserve in Ontario which has members from all six Iroquois tribes. This includes 200 Tuscarora, but the majority (1,200) live on the Tuscarora Reservation (5,000 acres) near Niagara Falls, New York. The Seneca were once the largest tribe of the Iroquois League - the number of their warriors equal to the other four tribes combined. Their current enrollment stands at 9,100, 1,100 of whom are in Ontario at Grand River. There are four Seneca Reserves in western New York: Allegheny, Cattaraugus, Oil Springs, and Tonawanda (total 60,000 acres). There was once a fifth Seneca reservation, but only 100 of the original 9,000 acres of the Cornplanter grant in northern Pennsylvania remain after it was flooded by a dam project in the 1960s. The Seneca, however, are the only Native American tribe to own an American city - Salamanca, New York.

   The Mohawk are the largest group of Iroquois with more than 35,000 members. Some estimates of pre-contact Mohawk population range as high as 17,000 although half this is probably closer to the truth. War and epidemic took a terrible toll, and by 1691 the Mohawk had less than 800 people. A large group of Caughnawaga live in Brooklyn (ironworkers), but the only American Mohawk reservation is at St. Regis on the New York-Quebec border with 7,700 members. Straddling the border as the Akwesasne reserve, the Canadian part has a population of 5,700. Almost 12,000 Mohawk live in Ontario as Six Nations of the Grand River, Watha Mohawk Nation, and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte at Tyendenaga (Deseronto) on the north shore of Lake Ontario west of Kingston. The remainder of the Canadian Mohawk live in Quebec near Montreal: 8,200 at Kahnawake (Caughnawaga); and 1,800 at Oka (Kanesatake, Lac des Deaux Montagnes).


   Iroquois is an easily recognized name, but like the names of many tribes, it was given them by their enemies. The Algonquin called them the Iroqu (Irinakhoiw) "rattlesnakes." After the French added the Gallic suffix "-ois" to this insult, the name became Iroquois. The Iroquois call themselves Haudenosaunee meaning "people of the long house." Other names: Canton Indians; Confederate Indians; Ehressaronon (Huron); Five Nations; Massawomeck (Powhatan); Matchenawtowaig (Ottawa "bad snakes"); Mengue (French); Mingo, Minqua, Mingwe (Delaware); Nadowa, Nadowaig, Nautowa (Ojibwe "adders"); and after 1722, the Six Nations.


Iroquian - Northern. The languages of individual tribes were closely related and, although not identical, mutually intelligible. The greatest similarities existed between the Mohawk and Oneida and the Cayuga and Seneca.


Five - Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca. After 1722 the Tuscarora were added to the League as a sixth, but non-voting, member.


   New York State unless otherwise noted. A number indicates more than one village of the same name, while a tribal name shows a mixed population.

Gweugwehono. Translated variously as "people of Oiogouen; where the boats were taken out; people at the landing; or people of the mucky land." Also referred to as "those of the great pipe."


Ouioerrhonon (Huron)


   Chondote, Gandasetaigon (ONT), Ganogeh, Gayagaanhe, Gewauga, Goiogouen, Kawauka, Kente (ONT), Kiohero (Thiohero, Tiohero), Neodakheat, Oiogouen (Jesuit mission of St. Joseph), Oneniote, Onnontare (Onotare) (Jesuit mission of St. Rene), Owego, and Skannayutenate

   Kahniankehaka (Ganiengehaka) "people of the flint." Spoken of within the League as the "keepers of the eastern door."


Agnier (French), Agnierrhonon (Huron), Maqua (Abenaki and Dutch), Mohowaanuck (Narragansett "man eaters")


   Canajoharie, Canastigaone, Canienga, Caughnawaga (ONT and NY-2), Churchtononeda, Kanagaro, Kowogoconnughariegugharie, Nowadaga, Onekagoncka, Onoalagona, Oquaga, Osquake, Saratoga, Schaunactada (Schenectady), Schoharie, Teatontaloga (Jesuit mission of Ste. Marie), Tewanondadon, Tionnontoguen, and Unadilla

Onayotekaono (Onyotaaka) "people of the standing stone"

Onoiochronon (Huron)


Awegen, Cahunghage, Canowaroghere, Canowdowsa, Chittenango, Cowassalon, Ganadoga, Hostayuntwa, Oneida (Upper Castle), Opolopong (PA), Oriska, Ossewingo, Ostogeron, Schoherage, Sevege, (Tuscarora), Solocka (PA), Tegasoke, Teseroken, Tetosweken, Tkanetota, and Tolungowon (WI).

Onundagaono "people of the hills; place on the hill; people on the mountain." The "keepers of the fire" and "wampum keepers."


Onontaerrhonon (Huron)


Ahaouet, Deseroken, Gadoquat, Gannentaha, Gistwiahna, Kanadaseagea (Canandaigua), Kanatakowa, Onondaga, Onondaghara, Onondahgegahgeh, Onontatacet, Otiahanague, Teionontatases, Tgasunto, Touenho, and Tueadasso.

Nundawaono "great hill people." The "keepers of the western door."

Senecars, Sonnontoerrhonon (Huron)


Buckaloon (PA), Canadasaga, Caneadea, Catherine's Town, Cattaraugus, Chemung, Cheronderoga, Condawhaw, Connewango (2-PA), Cussewago (PA), Dayoitgao, Deonundagae, Deyodeshot, Deyohnegano (2), Deyonongdadagana, Dyosyowan (PA), Gaandowanang, Gadaho, Gahato, Gahayanduk, Ganagweh, Ganawagus, Ganeasos, Ganedontwan, Ganos, Ganosgagong, Gaonsagaon, Gaousge, Gaskosada, Gathtsegwarohare, Geneseo, Gistaquat, Gwaugweh, Honeoye, Jennesedaga (PA), Joneadih, Kahesarahera, Kanaghsaws, Kannassarago, Kashong (Cashong), Kaskonchiagon, Kaygen, Keinthe (ONT), Little Beard's Town, Middle Town, New Chemung, Newtown, Nondas, Oatka, Old Chemung, Onnahee (Onaghee), Onoghsadago, Onondarka, Owaiski, Skahasegao, Skoiyase, Sonojowauga, Tekisedaneyout, Tioniongarunte, Tonawanda, Totiakton, Yorkjough, and Yoroonwago (PA)


"shirt wearing people." Not an original member of the Iroquois League, the Tuscarora joined as a non-voting member in 1722 after they had been forced to leave North Carolina in 1714 after a war with the English colonists.


Akotaskaroren (Mohawk), Aniskalall (Cherokee), Ataskalolen (Oneida), Tewohomomy (Keewahomomy) (Saponi)



   The name comes from "Minqua," a Delaware word meaning treacherous used for the Susquehannock and other Iroquian-speaking tribes. The Mingo were groups of independent Iroquois - mixed Seneca and Cayuga hunters with a heavy percentage of descendents of Neutrals, Huron, and Erie who had been adopted by the Iroquois during the 1650s. They settled in Ohio and western Pennsylvania in the early 1700s and formed mixed villages with the Delaware and Shawnee who arrived later.


Cowskin Seneca, Neosho Seneca, Ohio Iroquois, and Seneca of Sandusky


Logstown (Chininqu�) (Delaware-Shawnee-PA), Mingo Town (OH), Pluggy's Town (OH), Sawcunk (Saukunk) (Delaware-Shawnee-PA), Sewickley (Shawnee-Delaware-PA), Scoutash's Town (Shawnee-OH), Seneca Town (OH), Sonnontio (Delaware-Shawnee-OH), Wakatomica (Shawnee-OH), Wasps (OH), White Mingo Town, and Yellow Creek (OH)
Caughnawaga (Praying Indians of Quebec)

Collectively, the Iroquois (mostly Mohawk but with sizeable numbers of Oneida, Onondaga, and Cayuga) who, after being converted to Christianity by French Jesuits, separated from the Iroquois League after 1667 and settled along the St. Lawrence River near Montreal.


Bay Quinte, Caughnawaga (Caughnawena, Conewaga, Coghnawagee, Kahnawake, Sault St. Louis for the Mohawks). La Montagne, La Prairie, Oka (Kanesatake, Lac des Deaux Montagnes, Lake of the Two Mountains, Scawendadey, Scenodidi), Oswegatchie (La Presentation mission), Sault au Recollet, St. Francois Xavier des pr�s, St. Jerome, and St. Regis (Akwesasne)

Pennsylvania Mixed Iroquois-Delaware Villages

Chinklacamoose (Seneca), Goshgoshunk (Seneca-3), Hickorytown (Munsee), Jedakne, John's Town (Munsee), Kickenapawling, Kittaning (Attigu�) (Caughnawaga), Kushkuski (Kuskuski), Lawunkhannek (Seneca), Loyalhannon, Mahusquechikoken (Munsee-Seneca), Nescopeck (Shawnee), Ostonwackin (Cayuga-Oneida), Shamokin (Shawnee-Tutelo), Shenango (3), Sheshequin (Seneca), Skenandowa, Tioga, Venango (Seneca-Shawnee-Wyandot-Ottawa), Wyalusing (Munsee), and Wyoming (Munsee-Shawnee-Mahican-Nanticoke)

Ohio Mixed Iroquois-Delaware Villages

Coshocton (Koshachkink) (Munsee-Delaware-Shawnee-Seneca), New Town (Newtown) (1-NY and 3-OH), and Tullihas (Caughnawaga-Mahican-OH)

Unspecified Villages

Adjouquay, Anpuaqun, Aratumquat, Chemegaide, Churamuk, Codocararen, Cokanuk, Conaquanosshan, Conihunta, Connosomothdian, Conoytown (Conoy-PA), Coreorgonel (Tutelo), Cowawago, Ganadoga (ONT), Ganagarahhare (PA), Ganeraske (ONT), Ganneious (ONT), Glasswanoge, Indian Point, Janundat (OH), Jonondes, Juniata, Juraken (2-PA), Kahendohon, Kanatiochitiage, Kanesadageh, Kannawalohalla, Karaken, Karhationni, Karhawenradonh, Kayehkwarageh, Manckatawangum (PA), Matchasaung (PA), Mohanet (PA), Newtychanning (PA), Ohrekionni, Onaweron, Onkwe Iyede, Oskanwaserenhon, Otseningo (Delaware), Otskwirakeron, Ousagwentera, Runonvea, Schohorage (PA), Sconassi (PA), Sittawingo (PA), Swahadowri, Taiaiagon (ONT), Tohoguse's Town (PA), Tonihata (ONT), Tuskokogie, Wakerhon, Wauteghe, and Youcham


   Simply put, the Iroquois were the most important native group in North American history. Culturally, however, there was little to distinguish them from their Iroquian-speaking neighbors. All had matrilineal social structures - the women owned all property and determined kinship. The individual Iroquois tribes were divided into three clans, turtle, bear, and wolf - each headed by the clan mother. The Seneca were like the Huron tribes and had eight (the five additional being the crane, snipe, hawk, beaver, and deer). After marriage, a man moved into his wife's longhouse, and their children became members of her clan. Iroquois villages were generally fortified and large. The distinctive, communal longhouses of the different clans could be over 200' in length and were built about a framework covered with elm bark, the Iroquois' material of choice for all manner of things. Villages were permanent in the sense they were moved only for defensive purposes or when the soil became exhausted (about every twenty years).

   Agriculture provided most of the Iroquois diet. Corn, beans, and squash were known as "deohako" or "life supporters." Their importance to the Iroquois was clearly demonstrated by the six annual agricultural festivals held with prayers of gratitude for their harvests. The women owned and tended the fields under the supervision of the clan mother. Men usually left the village in the fall for the annual hunt and returned about midwinter. Spring was fishing season. Other than clearing fields and building villages, the primary occupation of the men was warfare. Warriors wore their hair in a distinctive scalplock (Mohawk of course), although other styles became common later. While the men carefully removed all facial and body hair, women wore theirs long. Tattoos were common for both sexes. Torture and ritual cannibalism were some of the ugly traits of the Iroquois, but these were shared with several other tribes east of the Mississippi. The False Face society was an Iroquois healing group which utilized grotesque wooden masks to frighten the evil spirts believed to cause illness.

   It was the Iroquois political system, however, that made them unique, and because of it, they dominated the first 200-years of colonial history in both Canada and the United States. Strangely enough, there were never that many of them, and the enemies they defeated in war were often twice their size. Although much has been made of their Dutch firearms, the Iroquois prevailed because of their unity, sense of purpose, and superior political organization. Since the Iroquois League was formed prior to any contact, it owed nothing to European influence. Proper credit is seldom given, but the reverse was actually true. Rather than learning political sophistication from Europeans, Europeans learned from the Iroquois, and the League, with its elaborate system of checks, balances,, and supreme law, almost certainly influenced the American Articles of Confederation and Constitution.

   The Iroquois were farmers whose leaders were chosen by their women - rather unusual for warlike conquerors. Founded to maintain peace and resolve disputes between its members, the League's primary law was the Kainerekowa, the Great Law of Peace which simply stated Iroquois should not kill each other. The League's organization was prescribed by a written constitution based on 114 wampums and reinforced by a funeral rite known as the "Condolence" - shared mourning at the passing of sachems from the member tribes. The council was composed of 50 male sachems known variously as lords, or peace chiefs. Each tribe's representation was set: Onondaga 14; Cayuga 10; Oneida 9; Mohawk 9; and Seneca 8. Nominated by the tribal clan mothers (who had almost complete power in their selection), Iroquois sachemships were usually held for life, although they could be removed for misconduct or incompetence. The emblem of their office was the deer antler head dress, and guided by an all-male council, the sachems ruled in times of peace. War chiefs were chosen on the basis of birth, experience, and ability, but exercised power only during war.

   The central authority of the Iroquois League was limited leaving each tribe free to pursue its own interests. By 1660, however, the Iroquois found it necessary to present a united front to Europeans, and the original freedom of its members had to be curtailed somewhat. In practice, the Mohawk and Oneida formed one faction in the council and the Seneca and Cayuga the other. The League's principal sachem (Tadodaho) was always an Onondaga, and as "keepers of the council fire" with 14 sachems (well out of proportion to their population), they represented compromise. This role was crucial since all decisions of the council had to be unanimous, one of the League's weaknesses. There was also a "pecking order" among members reflected by the eloquent ritual language of League debate. Mohawk, Onondaga, and Seneca were addressed as "elder brothers" or "uncles," while Oneida, Cayuga, and Tuscarora were "younger brothers" or "nephews."

   In this form, the Iroquois used a combination of military prowess and skilled diplomacy to conquer an empire. Until their internal unity finally failed them during the American Revolution, the Iroquois dealt with European powers as an equal. The League was a remarkable achievement, but it also had flaws, the most apparent was its inability to find a satisfactory means to share political power with its new members. As mentioned, the Iroquois incorporated thousands of non-league Iroquian peoples during the 1650s. Political power was retained by the original Iroquois to such an extent that the adoptees remained second-class citizens. The resulting dissatisfaction eventually led to the Mingo separating and moving to Ohio to free themselves from League control. Others found refuge with the French at Caughnawaga and other Jesuit missions along the St. Lawrence.

   The League's massive adoptions also explains why it was so relentless in its pursuit of the remnants of defeated enemies. So long as one small band remained free, the Iroquois were in danger of an insurrection from within. Perhaps because they considered themselves "Ongwi Honwi" (superior people), the Iroquois never offered wholesale adoption to the non-Iroquian speaking peoples who came under their control. Instead they offered membership in the "Covenant Chain," a terminology first suggested by the Dutch at a treaty signed with the Mohawk in 1618. By 1677 the Iroquois had extended this form of limited membership to the Mahican and Delaware and later would offer it to other Algonquin and Siouan tribes. Essentially, the Covenant Chain was a trade and military alliance which gave the Iroquois the authority to represent its members with Europeans, but there was no vote or direct representation in the League council, Worse yet, the Iroquois were often arrogant and placed their own interests first. A system of "half-kings" created to represent the Ohio tribes in the 1740s never really corrected this problem.

   A list of all noteworthy Iroquois would be too long to be included here. The Seneca chief, Eli Parker (Donehogawa) was the Commissioner of Indian Affairs during the Grant Administration. Educated as a lawyer, he was admitted to the bar but not allowed to practice in New York. He served on Grant's staff during the Civil War and is believed to have written the terms of Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Catherine Tekawitha, the Lily of the Mohawk (1656-80) has reached the final stage before recognition as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. The Mohawk have gained fame as structural ironworkers. Hired as laborers in 1896 during the construction of the Dominion Bridge at Montreal, they showed no fear of height and have since been involved in the construction of every major bridge and skyscraper. 35 Mohawk were among the 96 killed in 1907 when a bridge being built across the St. Lawrence at Quebec collapsed.


   Archeological evidence indicates the Iroquois had lived in upstate New York for a long time before the Europeans arrived. Longhouse construction dates to at least 1100 A.D. The maize agriculture was introduced in the 14th century prompting a population surge and other changes. By 1350 villages had become larger and fortified due to increased warfare, and ritual cannibalism began around 1400. The Onondaga were the first of the Iroquois tribes that can be positively identified in New York and seems to have begun after the merger of two villages sometime between 1450 and 1475. The origin of the other four tribes is not as certain. According to Iroquois tradition, they were once a single tribe in the St. Lawrence Valley subject to Algonquin-speaking Adirondack who had taught them agriculture. To escape Algonquin domination, the Iroquois say they left the St. Lawrence and moved south to New York where they split into opposing tribes.

   The exact date of this migration is uncertain. When Jacques Cartier first explored the St. Lawrence in 1535, there were Iroquoian-speaking peoples living in at least eleven villages between Stadacona (Quebec) and Hochelaga (Montreal). Hochelaga was a large fortified village with large corn fields and a population over 3,000. It was still there during Cartier's second visit (1541-42), but when the French returned to the area in 1603, Hochelaga and the other Iroquois villages on the St. Lawrence had disappeared. In their place were Montagnais and Algonkin. For lack of a better term, these Iroquian people have been called the Laurentian Iroquois, but their exact relationship to other Iroquian groups has never been established. Both the Huron and Mohawk traditions claim them as their own. Linguistic evidence tends to support the Huron, but it is quite possible the Laurentian Iroquois may have been part of the Mohawk.

   Equally confused is the exact date of the founding of the Iroquois League. Some estimates put this as far back as 900 A.D., but the general consensus is sometime around 1570. There is no question, however, that all of the Iroquoian confederacies (Neutrals, Susquehannock, Huron, and Iroquois) were established prior to European contact. Nor is there any dispute over why this occurred. Although still threatened by the Adirondack after moving to upstate New York, the greatest danger for the Iroquois was themselves. Relationships between the tribes had deteriorated into constant war, blood feuds, and revenge killings. In danger of self-destruction, the Iroquois were saved by the sudden appearance of a Huron holyman known as the "Peacemaker." Deganawida (Two River Currents Flowing Together) received a vision from the Creator of peace and cooperation among all Iroquois. Apparently he was hindered by either a language or speech difficulty, but Deganawida eventually won the support of Hiawatha (Ayawentha - He Makes Rivers), an Onondaga who had become a Mohawk war chief.

   With considerable effort, they were able to convince the other Iroquois tribes to end their fighting and join together in a league. Legend tells that Deganawida blotted out the sun to convince the reluctant. A solar eclipse visible in upstate New York occurred in 1451 suggesting another possible date for these events. The formation of the League ended the warfare between its members bringing the Iroquois a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity. It also brought political unity and military power, and unfortunately, Deganawida's "Great Peace" extended only to the Iroquois themselves. For outsiders it was a military alliance and the "Great War" against any people with whom the Iroquois had a dispute, and during the first 130 years of the League's existence, there were very few tribes who managed to avoid a dispute with the Iroquois.

   The Iroquois were only required to maintain peace with each other, the individual members of the League were free to pursue their own interests, and at first, the Iroquois functioned as two alliances: the Seneca, Cayuga, and, to a lesser extent, the Onondaga combined as the western Iroquois; while the Mohawk and Oneida united in the east. Despite this division, the Iroquois still possessed a unity and purpose which their enemies could not match. During a 50-year war beginning sometime around 1570, the eastern Iroquois drove the Algonquin from the Adirondack Mountains and the upper St. Lawrence River - a possible explanation of the movement of the Pequot and Mohegan into southern New England just after 1600. There were also skirmishes with the powerful Mahican Confederacy to the south over the wampum trade, and most likely because they were Adirondack or Mahican allies, the Pocumtuc in western New England were attacked by the Mohawk in 1606. After establishing a settlement at Quebec, the French reached west to the vicinity of Montreal in 1609. What they found there was a war zone where it was possible to travel along the St. Lawrence for days without seeing another human being. The Algonkin and Montagnais were so harassed by Mohawk war parties that they usually remained well-clear of the river.

   The French only wanted to trade for fur. Their potential trading partners, however, wanted help fighting the Mohawk which trapped the French into winning their loyalty by jumping into someone else's war. It must have seemed a trivial at the time, but it proved a fateful decision. In July, 1609 Samuel de Champlain accompanied a Huron, Montagnais, and Algonkin war party which moved south along the shores of Lake Champlain. When they encountered Mohawk warriors, a battle followed during which French guns broke the massed Mohawk formation killing several war chiefs. The following year, Champlain joined another attack against a Mohawk fort on the Richelieu River. Although the Mohawk soon discarded mass formations, wooden body armor, and countered French firearms by falling to the ground just before they discharged, they were driven from the St. Lawrence after 1610. The Algonkin and Montagnais took control of the area and its fur trade for the next twenty years. Meanwhile, the French pushed west to the Huron villages and, in a similar error in 1615, participated in an attack on the Onondaga.

   During the years following, the French paid dearly for their intervention. Iroquois hostility prevented them from using Lake Ontario and forced a detour through the Ottawa River Valley to reach the western Great Lakes. For the moment, however, the Iroquois needed guns and steel weapons to protect themselves, but these were available only through a fur trade controlled by their enemies. In 1610 Dutch traders arrived in the Hudson Valley of New York, and the Iroquois had solved a part of their problem. Still pressed from the north by the Huron, Algonkin, and Montagnais, the Mohawk in 1615 were also fighting their traditional Susquehannock rivals to the south. Suspecting the French were behind this, the Dutch helped the Mohawk against the Susquehannock. This attached the Mohawk to the Dutch, but there were problems. Located on the Hudson, the Mahican blocked Mohawk access to Dutch traders unless tribute was paid to cross their territory.

   This unhappy arrangement did not sit well with the Mohawk and periodically erupted into war. Since this affected their fur trade, the Dutch arranged a truce in 1613. Four years later, renewed fighting between the Mohawk and Mahican forced the closure of Fort Nassau near Albany until another peace was made in 1618. Meanwhile, the Dutch demand for fur had created competition for previously-shared hunting territory, and Mohawk encroachment had led to fighting and subjugation of some the northern groups of Munsee Delaware during 1615. How long the Dutch could have "kept the lid on" this situation is questionable. The Mohawk were acting as middlemen for other Iroquois and had even greater ambitions. In 1624 the Dutch built a new post at Fort Orange which was actually closer to the the Mohawk. Unfortunately, they also tried to take some of the St. Lawrence fur trade from the French by using Mahican middlemen to open trade with the Algonkin.

   Trade with their enemies was too much for the Mohawk, and in 1624 they attacked the Mahican in a war the Dutch could not stop. Fighting continued for the next four years with the Mahican calling in their Pocumtuc and Sokoki (Western Abenaki) allies. The Dutch at first tended to favor the Mahican. Dutch soldiers from Fort Orange joined a Mahican war party in 1626. A Mohawk ambush resulted in several dead Dutchmen, but rather than retaliate, the Dutch decided to remain neutral. By 1628 the Mohawk had defeated the Mahican and driven them east of the Hudson River. Under the terms of peace, the Mahican were forced to pay tribute in wampum, or at least share their profits from wampum trade with the Delaware on Long Island. The Dutch accepted the Mohawk victory and made them their principal ally and trading partner. The Iroquois homeland occupied a very strategic position - sitting between the Dutch in the Hudson Valley and furs of the Great Lakes. Already able to force the French to stay well north, the Iroquois were ready to try to dominate the French trade on the St. Lawrence.

   The result was the Beaver Wars - 70 years of violent intertribal warfare for control of the European fur trade. Largely forgotten today, the Beaver Wars were one of the critical events in North America history. With the Mahican defeated and subject, the Mohawk in 1629 continued the war against the Mahican's Sokoki and Pennacook allies. This may have continued for some time if not for the actions of third European power, Great Britain, which had begun colonizing New England in 1620. During a war in Europe between Britain and France, English privateers under Sir David Kirke captured Quebec in 1629. Without French support, the Algonkin and Montagnais were vulnerable, and after concluding a truce with the Sokoki, the Mohawk took advantage by destroying the Algonkin-Montagnais village at Trois Rivieres. By late 1630 the Algonkin and Montagnais desperately needed help against the Mohawk. For three long years none came until the Treaty of St. Germaine en Laye restored Quebec to France in 1632.

   By the time the French returned to the St. Lawrence that year, the Iroquois (with uninterrupted trade with the Dutch) had reversed their earlier losses and were dangerously close to gaining control of the upper St. Lawrence and southern Ontario. The Iroquois had exhausted most of the beaver in their homeland (they never had that many to begin with). If they were to continue trade for the European goods on which they become dependent, they desperately needed to find new hunting territory. As large Iroquois war parties ranged freely through southern Ontario and the Ottawa Valley, the French tried to restore the balance of power in the region by selling firearms to their trading partners for "hunting." For obvious reasons, the Europeans at first had avoided trading firearms to the natives, although they were pretty free with steel knives and hatchets. With growing competition in the fur trade, however, their reluctance rapidly gave way.

   Initially, the French took the precaution of restricting guns to Christian converts and limiting the amount of ammunition to preclude any use against themselves. Even a limited supply was sufficient at the time to allow the Huron, Algonkin, and Montagnais to counter the Iroquois, while the French rebuilt their fur trade. The firearms and steel weapons, however, soon found their way into the hands of the tribes for which the Huron acted as a middleman, and as the number of beaver dwindled in the eastern Great Lakes, Neutral, Tionontati, and Ottawa warriors used them to seize territory from Algonquin and Siouan tribes in lower Michigan and the Ohio Valley. The Beaver Wars spread westward during the 1630s and 40s. The Iroquois were Dutch allies. Because of this and past hostility, the French continued to avoid them. Despite a limited trade agreement concluded with the Mohawk in 1627, they concentrated their efforts on trade with the Huron who had strong trading ties to the western Great Lakes.

   Stymied by Huron military power, the Iroquois wanted their permission to hunt in the prime beaver territory to the north and west of their homeland so they could maintain their trade with the Dutch. At the very least, the Iroquois needed the Huron to cooperate and trade some of their furs with them - something the two rival confederations had done for many years before arrival of the French and Dutch. Resorting to diplomacy, the League sent its requests to the Huron council. The Huron, however, sensed their growing advantage and refused. After the Huron killed an Iroquois hunting party in disputed territory, all-out war erupted. Although the Huron and their allies outnumbered them more than two to one, Iroquois war parties moved into southern Ontario trying to cut the Huron link through the Ottawa Valley to French traders at Quebec. Some French settlements along the St. Lawrence were also attacked in 1633, but these were never the main target. For the most part, the Iroquois shrewdly tried to keep the French neutral, while they eliminated their native allies.

   A peace arranged with Algonkin in 1634 failed almost immediately when the Algonkin renewed efforts to open trade with the Dutch in the Hudson Valley. Two separate Iroquois offensives during 1636 and 1637 drove the Algonkin deep into the upper Ottawa Valley and forced the Montagnais to retreat east towards Quebec. Smallpox from New England in 1634 slowed the Mohawk offensive, but the Seneca inflicted a major defeat on the Huron the following year. Between 1637 and 1641, the Huron paid a horrendous price for European contact and fur trade when a series of epidemics swept through their villages. When these ended, the Huron had lost many experienced leaders and almost half their population which seriously weakened their ability to defend themselves against the Iroquois. When the French had begun to provide firearms to the Huron and Algonkin, the Dutch had kept pace in supplying them to the Iroquois. The resulting arms race had remained on a relatively low level until the Swedes established a colony on the lower Delaware River in 1638.

   To compensate for their late start in the fur trade, the Swedes placed few restrictions on the amount of firearms they sold to the Susquehannock. Suddenly confronted by a well-armed enemy to the south in Pennsylvania, the Iroquois turned to the Dutch for more and better firearms. Already angry the Swedes had settled on territory claimed by themselves and taken over their trade, the Dutch provided additional guns and ammunition and in the process gave the Iroquois a definite arms advantage over the Huron. The first victim of this new armament was not the Huron, but the small Iroquian-speaking Wenro tribe of western New York. Abandoned by their Erie and Neutral allies, they were overrun by the Iroquois in 1639. Resistance continued until 1643, but the surviving Wenro were finally forced to seek refuge with the Huron and Neutrals. The major change came in 1640, when the other newcomers to the fur trade, New England traders from Boston, tried to break the Dutch trade monopoly with the Mohawk by selling them firearms.

   Although this sale would have violated British law, the Dutch started selling the Iroquois all the guns and powder they wanted. The level of violence in the Beaver Wars escalated dramatically, with the Iroquois, now even better armed than the French, holding a clear advantage in firepower. Despite this the Huron won two major victories against the Iroquois in 1640 and 1641. but within a year, the Mohawk and Oneida had driven the last groups of Algonkin and Montagnais from the upper St. Lawrence. The French responded by building forts, but these proved inadequate to protect even their own settlements which were coming under attack. The founding of Montreal at the mouth of the Ottawa River in 1642 shortened the distance the Huron had to travel to trade, but the French were vulnerable to attack in this new location. The Iroquois easily compensated during 1642 and 1643 by moving large war parties into the Ottawa Valley to attack the French and Huron trying to move furs to Montreal.

   As if the French did not have enough trouble, a long-standing hostility between the Montagnais and Sokoki (Western Abenaki) had erupted into war in 1642 when the Montagnais attempted to keep the Sokoki from trading directly with the French at Quebec. Since the Mohawk were already at war with the Montagnais, the Sokoki put aside past differences and formed an alliance with the Mohawk. This also brought the Mahican (Mohawk allies since 1628) into the fighting, and in 1645 a combined Mohawk, Sokoki, and Mahican war party raided the main Montagnais village near Sillery, Quebec. The Dutch in 1640 had also begun providing large quantities of firearms to the Mahican. By 1642 both the Mohawk and Mahican were using these weapons to demand tribute from the Munsee and Wappinger Delaware on the lower Hudson. To escape this harassment, the Wiechquaeskeck (Wappinger) moved south during the winter of 1642-43 to Manhattan Island and the Tappan and Hackensack villages at Pavonia (Jersey City) for what they thought was the protection of the Dutch settlements.

   The Dutch, however, became alarmed and in February, 1643 made a surprise attack on the Wiechquaeskeck village killing more than 100 of them. The Pavonia Massacre ignited the Wappinger War (Governor Kieft's War) (1643-45). The fighting spread to include Munsee in New Jersey and Unami (Delaware) and Metoac of western Long Island, and the Dutch were forced to call upon the Mahican and Mohawk for help. After signing a formal treaty of alliance with the Dutch that year, the Mohawk and Mahican set to work. By the time a peace was finally signed at Fort Orange in the summer of 1645, more than 1,600 Wappinger, Munsee, and Metoac had been killed, and the Mohawk and Mahican had gained control of the wampum trade of western Long Island. Munsee resentment continued to smolder during the final 20 years of Dutch rule, but the Mohawk stood ready to crush an uprising. Violence finally came when five Munsee tribes combined to fight the new Dutch settlements in the Esopus Valley. The Mohawk attacked the Munsee villages killing hundreds, and when the Esopus War (1660-64) ended, the Munsee had been conquered and made subject to the Iroquois.

   For the French, 1644 was an especially grim year. The Atontrataronnon (Algonkin) were driven from the Ottawa River and forced to seek refuge with the Huron, and three large Huron canoe flotillas transporting fur to Montreal were captured by the Iroquois. The fur trade on the St. Lawrence had come to almost a complete halt, so the French were ready to listen when the Iroquois proposed a truce. The peace treaty signed in 1645 allowed the French to resume the fur trade, and the Mohawk, who had suffered heavy losses from war and epidemic, got the release of their warriors being held prisoner by the French. However, the treaty failed to solve the main cause of the war. The Iroquois expected peace would bring a resumption of their earlier trade with the Huron. Instead, the Huron ignored Iroquois overtures for trade and sent 60 canoe-loads of fur to Montreal in 1645 followed by 80 loads in 1646. After two years of increasingly-strained diplomacy failed to change this, all hell broke loose.

   While their diplomats took great care to reassure the French and keep them neutral, the Iroquois destroyed the Arendaronon Huron villages in 1647 and cut the trade route to Montreal. Very few furs got through that year. In 1648 a massive 250-man Huron canoe flotilla fought its way past the Iroquois blockade on the Ottawa River and reached Quebec, but during their absence, the Iroquois destroyed the Huron mission-village of St. Joseph torturing and killing its Jesuit missionary. This scattered the Attigneenongnahac Huron. Sensing a complete Iroquois victory, the Dutch provided 400 high-quality flintlocks and unlimited ammunition on credit. The final blow came during two days in March, 1649. In coordinated attacks, 2,000 Mohawk and Seneca warriors stuck the Huron mission-villages of St. Ignace and St. Louis. Hundreds of Huron were killed or captured, while two more French Jesuits were tortured to death. Huron resistance abruptly collapsed, and the survivors scattered and fled to be destroyed or captured.

   The Iroquois, however, were not about to just let the Huron go. After 20 years of war and epidemic, they had paid a high price for victory. Down to less than 1,000 warriors, the League had decided on massive adoptions to refill their ranks. The "Great Pursuit" began the following December when the Iroquois went after the Attignawantan Huron who had taken refuge with the Tionontati. The main Tionontati village was overrun, and less than 1,000 Tionontati and Huron managed to escape to a temporary refuge on Mackinac Island near Sault Ste. Marie (Upper Michigan). The Iroquois followed, and by 1651 the Huron and Tionontati refugees (who together would become the Wyandot) were forced to relocate farther west to Green Bay, Wisconsin. The following spring the Nipissing suffered the same fate (survivors fled north to the Ojibwe), and the last groups of Algonkin abandoned the upper Ottawa Valley and disappeared into safety of the northern forests with the Cree for the next twenty years.

   Meanwhile, the Tahonaenrat Huron had moved southwest among the villages of the Neutrals. Throughout the many wars between Iroquois and Huron, the Neutrals had refused to take sides. Huron and Iroquois war parties passed through their homeland to attack each other, but the Neutrals remained neutral - hence their name. Perhaps alarmed by the sudden Iroquois victory over the Huron, they made no effort to prevent the Tahonaenrat from continuing to make war on the Iroquois. After not-so diplomatic requests for the Neutrals to surrender their "guests" were ignored, the Iroquois attacked them in 1650. For the first year of the war, the Neutrals had the support of the Susquehannock who had been Huron allies before 1648. However, this ended in 1651 when the Mohawk and Oneida attacked the Susquehanna. The main Neutral fort of Kinuka fell to the Seneca that year, and the other Neutrals either surrendered or were overrun.

   The Tahonaenrat surrendered enmass and were incorporated into the Seneca, but large groups of Neutrals and Huron fled south to the Erie. Their reception was less than cordial, but they were allowed to stay in a status of semi-slavery. The "Great Pursuit" continued, and the Iroquois demanded the Erie turn the refugees over to them. Relations between the Iroquois and Erie apparently had never been friendly, and reinforced with hundreds of new warriors, the Erie flatly refused. The matter simmered for two years with growing violence. In 1653 an Erie raid into the Iroquois homeland killed a Seneca sachem. A last minute conference was held to avoid war, but in the course of a heated argument, an Erie warrior murdered an Onondaga, and Iroquois retaliated by killing all 30 of the Erie representatives. After this, peace was impossible, and the western Iroquois prepared for war. However, having great respect for the Erie as warriors, they first took the precaution of arranging a peace with the French.

   When the Huron were overrun in 1649, the French fur trade empire collapsed. The Jesuits had been killed, their native trading partners and allies destroyed or scattered, and the flow of fur stopped. The French still encouraged the natives to come to Montreal for trade, but very few tried with the Iroquois controlling the Ottawa River. The offer of peace did not include the Mohawk and Oneida, but the French grabbed at a chance to end hostilities with the other three Iroquois tribes. With the French pacified and the Mohawk and Oneida keeping the only possible ally, the Susquehannock, from giving any aid, the Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga were free to deal with the Erie. Their initial caution proved justified. Without firearms, the Erie held out for three years until resistance ended in 1656. The survivors were incorporated into the Iroquois.

   At this point, no power in North America could have stood against the Iroquois League, even the Europeans. However, rather than choosing to confront the Europeans, the Iroquois decided to deal with them as equals and use their firearms and trade goods to their own advantage. To this end, it should be noted the Iroquois never tried to eliminate one European power for the benefit of another. Instead, they attempted to maintain a working relationship with each one, even the French. Rather than being a Dutch ally, the Iroquois were in business for themselves to dominate the fur trade with the Europeans and set about creating an empire for this purpose. Details of how they did this have been mostly lost, since no European was present to record what happened. Oral traditions provide only partial answers, but archeological evidence indicates the western Great Lakes and Ohio Valley were rather heavily populated before contact. The first French explorers in the area during the 1660s and 70s, however, found few residents and many refugees.

   It is also unclear how much warfare by the Huron, Neutrals, Ottawa, Erie and Susquehannock in pursuit of beaver fur prepared the way for the Iroquois conquest of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley, but in only ten years, the western Iroquois cleared the region of most of its remaining native inhabitants. By 1667, the following tribes had been forced to relocate from their original locations:

1. The Potawatomi, Fox, Sauk, and Mascouten had left lower Michigan and were living in mixed refugee villages in Wisconsin.

2. The Shawnee, Kickapoo, and part of the Miami had been forced from Ohio and Indiana. The Kickapoo and Miami moved to Wisconsin, but the Shawnee scattered to Tennessee, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

3. Attacked by the Seneca in 1655 for giving refuge to Huron and Neutrals, the Illinois were forced west of the Mississippi River. They returned later but went no further than the Illinois River Valley which was well to the west of their original territory.

4. The Dhegiha Sioux (Osage, Kansa, Ponca, Omaha, and Quapaw) abandoned the lower Wabash Valley and moved west to the Missouri River. The Quapaw, however, separated from the others, went south, and settled at the mouth of the Arkansas.

5. The Huron, Tionontati, Wenro, Neutrals, and Erie had been defeated and absorbed into the Iroquois. Approximately 1,000 Huron and Tionontati who escaped capture moved first to Wisconsin, then inland to the Mississippi in Minnesota, and finally to the south shore of Lake Superior.

6.The Ottawa had left their original location on the islands of Lake Huron and moved west to upper Michigan. The Nipissing and southern bands of the Ojibwe had also been forced north to the vicinity of Sault Ste. Marie.

7. Some tribes in the Ohio Valley just disappeared and are known only by name: Casa, Cisca, Iskousogom, Moneton, Mospelea, Ouabano, Teochanontian, Tomahitan, and Tramontane. Who they were and exactly what happened to them is unknown.

   While the western Iroquois were conquering the Ohio Valley, the Mohawk and Oneida were busy in the east. In 1647 their war with the Algonkin and Montagnais had spread to the Abenaki in Maine who were helping the Montagnais.

   The Mohawk's alliance with the Sokoki against the Montagnais ended with fighting over hunting territory east of Lake Champlain. The sudden collapse of the Huron in 1649 had alarmed everyone, and the French at Quebec tried to assemble whatever allies they could against the Iroquois. The Mohawk struck outlying French settlements and kept attacking the small group of Christian Huron living just outside the gates of Quebec. In 1650 the French sent a Montagnais sachem and Jesuit missionary into northern New England to encourage an alliance between the Sokoki, Pennacook, Pocumtuc, and Mahican against the Iroquois. The New England colonies were also asked to participate, but the British were not interested. The French got the alliance they were seeking and began providing firearms to its members. Despite occasional raids against the Sokoki in Vermont, the alliance was not tested initially. The Mohawk after 1651 had all they could handle in their war in Pennsylvania with the Susquehannock.

   The Susquehannock had always been formidable warriors. In 1651 they had been well-armed by Swedish traders from the lower Delaware River. After four years of fighting with heavy losses to both sides, the Mohawk and Oneida only succeeded in capturing part of the upper part of Susquehanna River. The war was a stalemate, until the Dutch took the Swedish colonies in 1655. Suddenly deprived of their source of weapons, the Susquehannock asked for peace. The Mohawk readily agreed. Peace with the Susquehannock freed the Mohawk and Oneida to turn on their enemies in western New England, and the alliance received its first test. New fighting between the Mohawk and Mahican concerned the Dutch, and at their insistence, the Mahican left the alliance in 1658 and made peace with the Mohawk. However, the Mohawk soon discovered the Mahican were arranging trade between the Dutch and the Montagnais and Sokoki. Diplomacy failed to stop this, and in 1662 the Mohawk attacked the Mahican. Two years of war forced the Mahican to abandon most of the Hudson Valley, including their capital at Shodac near Albany.

   Supplied by both French and British, the Sokoki, Pennacook, Pocumtuc, and Montagnais continued fighting the Mohawk and were holding their own. Iroquois and Algonquin war parties moved back-and-forth across western New England attacking each other's villages. By 1660 the war had spread to include the Abenaki in Maine who were allies of the Montagnais. After an attack against a Mohawk village failed in 1663, the Pocumtuc found they were running out of warriors and asked the Dutch to arrange a truce. Nothing came of this, and in December a large Mohawk and Seneca war party struck the main Pocumtuc village at Fort Hill (Deerfield, Massachusetts). The assault was repulsed with the loss of almost 300 warriors, but the battered Pocumtuc abandoned Fort Hill in the spring and sued for peace. The Mohawk agreed, but someone (not the Pocumtuc) murdered the Iroquois ambassadors enroute to the peace conference. The Mohawk renewed their attacks forcing the Pocumtuc from the middle Connecticut River.

   In the midst of this, the British seized New York in 1664. The Dutch recaptured it in 1673, but it was returned to the British by the Treaty of Westminster the following year. The important role of the Dutch in North America ended at this point. The British concluded their own treaty of friendship with the Mohawk in 1664 and, most importantly, left the Dutch traders at Albany in charge of the trade essential to the Iroquois war machine. British traders at Boston saw greater opportunity trading with the powerful Iroquois than New England Algonquin and moved west to Albany. Their departure left the Sokoki, Abenaki, and Pennacook without support other than the French. No longer concerned about getting into a war with the British, the Mohawk took advantage and began to drive the Sokoki and Pennacook from the upper Connecticut River, one raid even reaching the vicinity of Boston in 1665.

   The French had noted the British capture of New York and their subsequent treaty with the Mohawk. Worried the British would gain control of the fur trade and tired of being threatened by the Iroquois, the French Crown took formal possession of New France and in June, 1665 sent the 1,200-man Carigan-Sali�res regiment to Canada. The French soldiers had much to learn, and their first offensive against the Iroquois got lost in the woods. However, during the winter of 1665-66, they invaded the Iroquois homeland with devastating effect and burned the Mohawk villages of Tionnontoguen and Kanagaro. By the following spring the Mohawk were asking the English for help. The governor of New York (also concerned about French) agreed to an alliance but only on condition the Mohawk first make peace with Mahican and Sokoki. The Mahican were ready, but the Sokoki refused. That summer, the Mohawk struck the Pennacook, while the Sokoki and Kennebec attacked Mohawk villages.

   The French army resumed their attacks in the fall but ran into a Mohawk ambush. The attacks still had their effect, and the Iroquois agreed to a general peace with the French in 1667. This freed the western Iroquois to concentrate on the still-dangerous Susquehannock while the Mohawk went after western New England. During 1668 the Mohawk drove the Pennacook across New Hampshire to the protection of the Abenaki in Maine. The following year an alliance of New England Algonquin (including Sokoki and Mahican) retaliated, but the attack on a Mohawk village was ambushed on their return home. With the exception of Missisquoi on the north end of Lake Champlain, by the time peace was arranged in 1670, most Sokoki were living under French protection along the St. Lawrence. The peace the Mahican agreed to in 1672 with the Iroquois was actually surrender. Afterwards, the Iroquois handled all Mahican relations with Europeans. In 1677 the Mahican became the first member of the Covenant Chain.

   The alliance of the British and Iroquois served to protect both from the French. It also gave the Iroquois the support of the British in extending its authority over other tribes by gathering them into the Covenant Chain which greatly increased the League's power and influence. There were several advantages for the British: it kept the Covenant Chain tribes from falling under French influence; negotiations with Native Americans were simplified since the British only had to deal with the Iroquois; and it also allowed the British to call upon the League a "policeman" in case of trouble. When the Wampanoag tried to use the Mahican village at Schaghticoke as a refuge during the King Philip's War (1675-76), the governor of New York called on the Mohawk to force them back to Massachusetts. The Mohawk later helped New England force Philip's Sokoki and Pennacook allies to retreat into northern Maine and Canada. Unfortunately, this also drove these peoples into an alliance with the French.

   After destroying the Erie in 1656, the western Iroquois had turned on the Algonquin in the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes and driven them west of Lake Michigan. The peace the French had signed with the western Iroquois in 1653, had not given the French access to the western Great Lakes and left them besieged in Montreal and Quebec by the Mohawk and Oneida. What little fur reached them came from the Ottawa who, after the destruction of the Huron, had assumed the middleman's role in trade with the French. This eventually annoyed the Iroquois, and they attacked the Ottawa living on the islands of Lake Huron forcing them west to Wisconsin and upper Michigan. The only French to visit the western Great Lakes during this period were Radisson and Groseilliers who reached the west end of Lake Superior in 1658 (only to be arrested when they returned to Quebec for trading without a license). The French peace with the Iroquois came to an end in 1658 with the murder of a Jesuit ambassador, and it was not until 1665 that Nicolas Perot and Father Claude-Jean Allouez (6 French and 400 Huron, Ottawa, and Ojibwe) fought their way up the Ottawa River and made their way to Green Bay.

   What they found was appalling. More than 30,000 refugees (Fox, Sauk, Ottawa, Mascouten, Miami, Kickapoo, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi) had overwhelmed both the resident Winnebago and Menominee and the resources of the area. Too far north for growing corn, the area was over-hunted, and the starving refugees were fighting among themselves over the little that was left. War had also started with the Dakota (Sioux) to the west as Algonquin hunters encroached on their territory. The refugees were also subject to periodic attacks by the Iroquois whose "Great Pursuit" had followed the Wyandot to Wisconsin. In 1653 the Seneca had attacked a Wyandot and Potawatomi fort near Green Bay, but the Iroquois were forced to withdraw after they ran out of food. The Wyandot retreated inland to the Mississippi and finally to the south shore of Superior. However, the Iroquois continued to strike without warning. A Fox village had been destroyed in 1657, although in 1662 the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Nipissing surprised and annihilated a large Mohawk and Oneida war party at Iroquois Point (east end of Lake Superior).

   The peace signed between the French and Iroquois in 1667 was significant. It not only included all five members of the Iroquois League but extended to French allies and trading partners in the western Great Lakes. The relentless Iroquois pursuit of the Wyandot ended, and the French were able to rebuild their fur trade. French traders and Jesuit missionaries immediately went west and began to bring some order to the chaos in Wisconsin. The French were also able to explore the Ohio Valley for the first time in 1669 which provided the basis for their later claim to the area. The Iroquois, of course, already claimed it by right of conquest. Marquette and Joliet reached the Mississippi in 1673, and LaSalle claimed Louisiana for France in 1682. More importantly, as fur began to reach the markets at Montreal and Quebec once again, the French became the mediator in intertribal disputes - the first step towards organized Algonquin resistance to the Iroquois.

   While the French used the peace to rebuild, the British became increasingly concerned with French military power and expansion. When they began to increase their own military strength, the stage was set for the 100-year struggle between Britain and France for control of North America. For the Iroquois, the events of 1664-67 changed the manner in which the League functioned. By 1677 the Iroquois had signed their first treaties as the "Five Nations," and members afterwards rarely negotiated separate treaties or conducted their own wars. Relations with European powers grew more complex, and the League found it necessary to first resolve its internal differences in order to present a united front to outsiders. The peace signed with the French in 1667 also had advantages for the Iroquois. They settled in the old Huron homeland of southern Ontario - uninhabited since 1650. While men had fought each other, the beaver were at peace, and the area had recovered to once again become a prime fur area.

   It also freed the western Iroquois for a war with the one Iroquian-speaking neighbor who had remained independent of the League. The Susquehannock's long war against the Mohawk and Oneida had barely ended in 1655, when a new conflict began with the Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga. The western Iroquois found them just as stubborn as had the Mohawk. Outnumbered three-to-one, the Susquehannock enlisted support from their tributary Algonquin and Siouan tribes (Shawnee, Delaware, Nanticoke, Conoy, Saponi, and Tutelo), and although they had lost the Swedes in 1655, alliances with Maryland colonists in 1661 and 1666 provided the necessary weapons. The Mohawk had their own wars in the tribes in New England and continued to honor their peace with the Susquehannock. The Mohawk, however, helped the Dutch during the Esopus War and, in crushing the Munsee Delaware, deprived the Susquehannock of one of their allies in 1664.

   The Susquehannock concentrated in a single impregnable fort for defense, so the Iroquois went after their allies and attacked the Delaware living along the Delaware River during the 1660s. The Shawnee also came under attack and were scattered. The pursuit of these Susquehannock allies south into South Carolina and Tennessee soon had Iroquois war parties fighting with Cherokee and Catawba. In the end the Susquehannock were just too few. The greatest blow, however, was not military defeat but epidemic when smallpox struck their single, crowded village with devastating effect in 1661. When the western Iroquois were free to prosecute the war with the

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