Native Village Youth and
Before there was a city, there was Chief Pontiac
So ended the life of an Ottawa Chief who nearly changed the course of history.
Chief Pontiac was born in either NW Ohio or SE Michigan to an Ottawa father and a mother from the Potawatomi or Miami tribe. He grew up among the area's Ottawa, Ojibway and Potawatomi tribes who called themselves "The Three Fires" because of their close association.
As the British and French battled to control the area's land and fur trade, Indian villages and tribes were caught between the two. Pontiac grew to understand and resent the politics and lies behind the empty promises. He decided to side with the French because "the British were known as harsh and stingy," said historian Charlie Martinez.
The results? "Chief Pontiac nearly overthrew the British empire in North America," Martinez said.
Chief Pontiac was well-respected by the British, French,
and other Native American
tribes for his skill as a military
strategist. He unified many tribes to fight against the British and
won many battles in the east.
Besides attacking British
posts in southeastern Michigan, Pontiac
attacked major British forts in Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well
as other areas along the Great Lakes.
They swept down in coordinated attacks and seized no less than 10
forts in the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Illinois territory and
Pennsylvania. They laid siege to Forts Detroit, Pitt and Niagara;
all in the same summer
From May through October, 1763, Pontiac besieged Fort Detroit, which
was occupied by the British.
The only reason he didn't win is because the British
were still receiving supplies shipped down the Detroit River which
ran beside the fort.
In the fall of 1763, a relief column of British troops and
Rogers Rangers arrived, ending any chance that Pontiac
would defeat the British.
By 1764 the French no longer supported the Indian efforts and actually sided with the British. The British re-took many of the areas. Pontiac agreed to a peace treaty in July 1766 at Fort de Chartres, Illinois. He was murdered by a Peoria Indian three years later. To avenge Pontiac's death, the Ottawa Indians killed many Peoria Indians.
Background: Robert Kaufman Fabrics: http://www.robertkaufman.com/
NATIVE VILLAGE website was created for youth, educators,
families, and friends who wish to celebrate the rich, diverse cultures of
The Americas' First Peoples. We offer readers two monthly publications:
NATIVE VILLAGE Youth and Education News and NATIVE VILLAGE Opportunities and
Websites. Each issue shares today's happenings in Indian country.