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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter I. — The French Policy Regarding the Tribal, or International, Movements of the Indians.

THE jealousy and hatred existing between the tribes, prevented extensive hostile combinations against the English, and proved the salvation of the colonies. Every large tribe, from the era of the settlement of Virginia, to that of Georgia, deemed itself superior to all others, vaunted of its prowess, and despised its enemies. Wingina, Powhatan, and Opechanganough, were but prototypes of Sassacus, Pometacorn, and Attakullakilla. The continent had been overrun by predatory bands long before its discovery by Europeans, and, at that period, the tribes were living in a state of intestine anarchy, and outward war. When the colonists landed and began to hold intercourse with them, every little tribe exercised an independent sovereignty, sold lands, and prosecuted wars. Of the several stocks who claimed to live in a state of association or confederation, the Iroquois alone possessed anything like a fixed system. The Muscogees, or Creeks, assumed to be a confederacy of seven tribes, but their association was so loosely organized, so destitute of governmental power, that it could not make levies, procure volunteers, meet out punishments, or grant rewards. The Algonquins assimilated in their tribal character and peculiar customs, but every tribe acted as it pleased, without respect to any governmental rule. The seven tribes of the Dakotas styled themselves a united people; the Pokanokets went to war, single-handed, against all New England; the Tuscaroras determined to destroy North Carolina, at a blow; the Yamasees undertook

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took to brave, if not to cope with, South Carolina; and the tribe of the Foxes insolently resolved, without any auxiliaries but the Sauks, or original occupants of Saganaw, 250 to drive the French out of Michigan.

The refractory tribes of New England, who had either submitted to the colonists, or had been conquered by them and fled, derived sympathy and efficient aid from the Canadian authorities. The Pequot refugees who had found shelter from the Mohawks, and been permitted to settle on a tributary of the North river, under the name of Scagticokes, finally fled to Lower Canada. The entire canton of St. Regis originally comprised refugees of the Iroquois, who had either refused to submit to the religious teachings, or to the political influence of the English.

The tribal and international movements, throughout the entire country, were controlled, with the sole exception of those of the important cantons of the Iroquois, by the general policy and influence of the French, and tended to the furtherance of the French colonial interests. It was observed at an early day by the English governors, and by the commanders on the frontiers, that a cordon of tribes, friendly to the French, occupied the whole of the immense line extending from Quebec to New Orleans; and every decade of the existence of the British colonies appeared to increase the apprehensions of evil impending from this quarter. This policy of the French was not a recent one, but can be traced back to the earliest times. From the period when Donnaconna was taken to France, and Agahonna greeted as the forest monarch of Hochelaga, it had been a primary policy of the Gallic authorities, to secure the influence of the Indian tribes. Two great stocks of tribes constituted the leading executors of the French policy.

Along the north shore of the St. Lawrence, from the Three Rivers as far as the entrance of the Great Otawa river, the coast was occupied by tribes of the generic stock, to whom was given the name of Algonquins. 251 The southern, as well as the northern, shores of the St. Lawrence, below the point denoted, as far down as Gaspe Bay, including Tadousac and the island of Orleans, were covered by parties of the Iroquois of the Wyandot branch. The governmental seat, and council-fire of this tribe were located on the mountain island of Hochelaga, to which Carter gave the name of Montreal. A close alliance was formed with the Algonquin tribes, and also with the Wyandots, or Hurons, a French soubriquet for this tribe. The Wyandots affirm themselves to have been the parent tribe of the Iroquois, and, although they do not appear to have been a member of the confederacy of the Five Nations, they were, then, on the most amicable terms with them. Their offence against the Five Nations was, that they had not only offered their aid to the French, but also to the Algonquins,

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their enemies. As soon as this alliance with the French was understood, the Five Nations, at first moderately, but afterwards peremptorily and violently, ordered them to leave the island of Hochelaga, and remove to New York. 252 The Wyandots having refused to obey this mandate, the Iroquois made war upon them, and so harassed them that they were compelled to seek shelter under the guns of Quebec; in which place even, they were not safe, but were finally expelled from the valley of the St. Lawrence. The French themselves were fiercely attacked, and at one time became seriously afraid that they would be driven from the country. 253

The flight of the Wyandots from the St. Lawrence valley, in 1659, produced a great displacement of tribes. They passed up the great Ontawas river, and across Lake Nepissing, to the Manatouline chain of islands, of Odawa lake, which thence received the appellation of Huron, their French nomme de guerre. But the New York Iroquois having pursued them thither, they fled to the rocky island of Tiedonderoga, called Michilimackinac by the Algonquins, with whom they were in close alliance, as they had originally been in Lower Canada. Remarkable evidences of their residence in the interior of this island, and also of their agricultural habits, may still be traced in the large spaces which were cultivated, and which are yet very conspicuous. Of these, the area called by the French, Le Grand Jardin, and the ground about Sugar Loaf, and Arched Rocks, will amply repay a visit from the curious. But, being also followed hither by the Iroquois, they took shelter on Lake Superior. Pursuing them to that retreat, they were defeated by the Algics at Point Iroquois in the Chippewa country. A sanguinary battle, followed by a massacre, was fought on the cape at the left-hand entrance into that lake, which has since been called Point Iroquois.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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