Called to mount a challenge to the Europeans seizing their land, Chief Pontiac's council brought hundreds of American Indians together. The Lincoln Park Historical Society and Museum, the American Indian Movement of Michigan and others held a week-long series of events, including a weekend powwow, to commemorate Pontiac's Council.
“It was such an important effort on the part of the natives to maintain their homelands,” said Jeff Day from the Lincoln Park Historical Society and Museum. “(The commemoration) gives us an opportunity to look back and reflect on the past that perhaps was not really thought about over the past couple of centuries.”
Officials dedicated a new historical marker for Pontiac’s Council during a Michigan Division of Natural Resources ceremony.
As part of the celebrations, Chief Pontiac descendant Rudy Pontiac, 72, talked about his ancestor and the current plight of American Indians.
“He did a great thing, you know, unite the tribes and tell his people that they are taking all the land away from us and we won’t have anyplace to go,” Pontiac said earlier. “It’s a bad thing that happened to my people.”
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Chief Pontiac tried to organize American Indians to capture British forts in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions and force them out. They seized nine forts but were overtaken by Europeans and colonial Americans.
“When you go back past the War of Independence, that history is fuzzy for a lot of people,” Day said. “So it helps us to remember. And we’re doing this to honor Pontiac as well because Pontiac’s cause was a good cause — he wanted to protect his brothers.”
The week-long events included light-hearted touches, including a car show for classic Pontiacs, a concert by American Indian singer-songwriter Bill Miller, and a screening of "Older than America” by American Indian filmmaker Georgina Lightning/
The free events were partially funded by Chrysler Group