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Michigan CHAPTER 10

Effect Upon the Indians of the Lake Region

The English were now entering upon uncertain ground. To fight an organized army of well drilled troops under the protection of strong fortifications was without doubt a very serious matter. To penetrate an unknown country in which swarmed a horde of hostile savages, was a scarcely less serious undertaking. The Ottawas, Hurons, Pottawatomies, Wyandots who dwelt in the upper lake region were attached to the French by long association. Many of them were Christians through the influence of the French missionaries. They were accustomed to the ways of the French, and however frequently the young and impetuous braves might go on the war path, and incidentally massacre a few whites, it seems clear that these tribes as a whole were genuinely loyal to the flag of France. Those untutored children of the forest knew nothing of the great games of nations in which kings and emperors are pawns, and in which empires change hands through the whims of a royal mistress or the blunders of an incompetent chieftain. They did not wear their allegiance like a cloak to be changed with the fashion of the day. The flag over the fort at Detroit might give place to another with very different symbols, but this meant little in their understanding of things. Beside all. this, they did not like the English who were proud and haughty in their bearing and lacked the suavity and easy good nature of the French. For nearly a generation the English had been associated in their minds with the hateful savages of New York, the Iroquois, who had pursued and attacked them relentlessly, driven them from their homes, destroyed their crops, burned their wigwams and murdered their women and babes. Under such conditions it is not surprising that even the name English was a black beast to bring on a pallid fright.

Michigan


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