Simon Pokagon

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of in to to of of In D. a F. R. to in be a. Hatha-wav; of a is St. suffer-i,r : , j WILL SOON BE EXTINCT THE POTTAWATOMIES, OXCE ALL-POWERFUL IX M1CHIGAX. DESCEXDAXTS OF THE TRIBE THAT STARVED SO ILLIXOIS I.NDIAXS. CHIEF POKAGOX THE OXLY LIVIXG SOX OF HIS FATHER. Land Chicago Stands on Deeded to the United States by the Latter. Watervliet, Mich., August 20. That popular western maxim, "There is no good Indian but a dead one," will hardly apply truthfully to the remnant of the Pottawatomie tribe of Indians who are now domiciled on their early hunting grounds in southwestern Michigan. They are the descendants of the band that drove the eighty Illinois Indians on "Starved Rock," sat down about its base and calmly waited until the last of their victims had perished. They are pretty good Indians now from force of circumstances.. They work as much as they must, wear the clothes of civilization, drink firewater, cling to their own language and confess their sins to the good priests, for the Pottawatomies have been within the fold of the church since Marquette established a mission among them. For the rest, they preserve the purity of their race, and have a sociable habit of not understanding English when It suits them. Just now these erstwhile children of the forest are in high glee over the fact that Chief Pokagon litis received notice that their long-pending claim against the government has passed both houses of congress, and that the sum of $104,020 will soon be distributed among the tribe. For over a score ot years Chief Pokagon has planned, hoped and schemed to get this monev. With it he hopes to put his followers where they can get enough to eat and wear hardlv a possibility now. They are as poor as poverty can be, as shiftless as hunger and necessity will allow, ami aside from sympathy because of their doomed condition they hardly deserve any pity. The remnants of this once powerful and warlike tribe, who for over a century dominated southwestern Michigan and around whose camplires thousands of braves clustered, now aggregate about 210 souls, this number Is yearly growing less, so rapidly n fact, that a few years will witness their entire extinction. Chief Pokagon is the last of the Pottawatomie chiefs. When he goes to the happy hunting grounds, whither have countless numbers of his ancestry, there ends all that is left of old tribal customs, elneis, warriors and their succession of authority. The migration of the Pottawatomies from the northwestern to the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan took place during the first decade of the eighteenth century. Twcnty years later the Pottawatomies were found to have dispossessed the Miamls and spread themselves over a vast area of additional territory, reaching from the vicinity of Chicago around the lake northward to the Grand river and eastward to Include the valleys of that stream and the Kalamazoo. This" region they held in undisputed possession for a century and a quarter, getting themselves mixed up in all the trouble that was brewing. In the French and Indian war they fought bravely for the French and were not disposed to give their territory over to the English rule after peace was declared. Their hatred of the English domination made them willing and eager to enter the conspiracy originated by Pontiac and th final details of the plot were arranged In an outlying camp of this tribe near Detroit. The slaughter of the garrison at St. Joseph, which they performed in the most thorough and savage manner, was the principal exploit of the Pottawatomies in this series of hostilities. They united with the tribes under Tecumseh. and a detachment of warriors participated in the massacre of the garrison of Fort Dearborn. '1 he battle of the Thames was the last battle-ground of the Pottawatomies. They sued for peace, retired to their villages and never raised the tomahawk again. The spirit ol warfare in them was broken forever, and they had onlv the strength to resist an attempt to remove them beyond the .Mississippi in 1S.. These Indians were induced, as they c ami. fraudulent, to sell their reserves on Lake Michigan, which were good hunting grounds and convenient to missions. 'I he tribe then settled in Van Buren county, near this place and in Silver Creek township, Cass Co., where they are now, some ot them securing small farms and others bulldinf. cabins away from the roads. hile tub tribe did not join their fellows on the western reservation, they claimed the annuitj which was due in that event, 'ihe missionaries thought their claim was good, and in the hope of securing it they mortgaged their little farms to build a church at each settlement. Other people now own the farms but the Indians have the big nood-efi churches. Several small sums were received from the government until, in M,, the Indians being in terrible strai s accepted under protest the sum ot Mt.eOO In full pavment. since which time the present claim lias been pending. The monev received by them In 1SG6 was soon dissipated, and while .h sI been no real suffering they merely eke out a precarious existence. While some : individual members are considerably advanced in civilization, the most ot them cannot '",. .:;.... ;.... i,iH,.ii.u- iinrt n no house hold Is that the common tongue. ihe blanket has entirely disappeared during r the past few years, but occaslona ly a familj-mav vet be seen preparing their horn my by "means of the wooden mortar and pestle Chief Simon Pokagon is about to years old and was born in the Cass county settlement. He is the only living; son of C hief Leopold Pokagon, who ceded the land on which Chicago now stands to ihe Ln ted States. With him ends a tamily ot chiefs and he bemoans the intense ignorance and laziness of his remaining people. "It isn't natural for them to work and he as other people," he says sadly. Civ-mzation killsPtnem off. They live ln huts that they keep red hot then gp out on hunting trips tor a week and sleep with no shelter. Consumption takes them, and there are other diseases that range among them. They used to have wagons and property, but most of them drank them up. They can earn forty to fifty cents per dav cutting wood." , Dissipation, civilization and intermarriage together are proving too much tor these cnuuren oi up- 10.1. -.- --nuallv outnumber me births, and an. Indian "of years is a rarity. Bits 1 ot le-"ond will soon only remain to tell the tale of the tribe and the Pottawatomie will be known in Michigan no more. Pin-Tails. The species of w-ild ducks known as pintails during the

Clipped from
  1. Detroit Free Press,
  2. 27 Aug 1894, Mon,
  3. Page 3

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