The Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections
(MPHC) are an important but often overlooked Native American resource.
Produced from materials presented at the annual meetings of the Michigan
Pioneer and Historical Society, the collections contain a high quantity
of primary resources and historical papers concerning many aspects of
The MPHC consists of forty 600 to 700 page
volumes. Each volume includes letters, speeches, memorial reports,
private and professional papers of individuals, as well as personal
remembrances and historical essays. The bulk of these materials span a
period of roughly two hundred years, from 1650 to 1850. However, these
dates are not entirely inclusive. For example, the collections contain
essays written about Michigan's ancient burial mounds as well as
documents from the civil war era. It is also important to note that
while most of the MPHC concerns the events and people of Michigan's
past, materials pertaining to other parts of the mid-west are included
The job of annotating the collections was very
large. Choosing selectively, we focused on those entries that dealt
directly with Native Americans, discussed them at any length, or were
deemed particularly relevant to scholarship. These were given precedence
over entries that marginalize Indians or only mention them in passing.
The annotated materials have been grouped into
seventeen categories. The following alphabetical listing of topics
contains a brief description of each category.
Includes many primary sources, especially
the letters and orders of various military commanders and the speeches
of Native American leaders. Documents relate to the different alliances
that existed between the British, the Americans, and groups of Indians;
the threat posed by the loss of Indian allies in the region; and the
participation of Indians in various battles and military actions.
Includes mostly primary sources, esp.
letters and speeches to and from Indians and the United States
government. Also contained are a few documents that refer to the British
reaction to the battle in 1794, and the chain of events leading up to
the Treaty of Greenville (1795).
Many of the historical
essays and personal "reminiscences of pioneer times" include detailed
information on specific Native Americans, often chiefs and other leaders
such as Kishkorko, Noonday, Okemos, Pokagon, and Shavehead.
This section is composed of a variety of sources
(letters, essays, memorandums, etc.) that deal with issues of law,
violence, trial, and punishment. Accounts discuss both Native American
and Euro-American legal customs and perspectives as well as developments
that took place when these different systems interacted. The majority
of the crimes discussed are murders, committed by both Whites and
Indians. Many of the sources make reference to the Saginaw Ojibwe Chief
Kishkorko, who had intricate dealings with the law in both cultures
during his lifetime.
This section has been subdivided into four
categories: Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa (Ottawa), Potawatomi, and General
(meaning that the Native Americans discussed in the document are
referred to only as "Indians" and not by a more specific or accurate
name). Entries include information on subsistence techniques,
personality, gender roles, clothing, housing, hospitality, leadership,
drinking habits, burial practices, dances, disease, games and social
activities, medicines, totems, justice, naming customs, teaching,
religious practices and beliefs, and the process of as well as
resistance to the Potawatomi Removal (1840).
Documents relate to the lives and
experiences of White fur traders and Native Americans, the types of
goods that were traded, the regions that experienced heavy trading, and
the economic impact on both Indians and White people.
This section is comprised mostly of
letters, speeches, and memoranda of American officials such as Henry
Knox (as Secretary of War), Lewis Cass (as General and later as
Governor), and William Hull (General and Governor). For specific
information concerning Indian relations with various governments during
the time periods of the American Revolution, Battle of Fallen Timbers,
or War of 1812, see the sections that bear those titles.
This section is comprised mostly of
letters, speeches, and memorandums of British officials such as Henry
Bouquet, General Robert McKee, Robert McDonnall, and Arent de Peyster.
For specific information concerning Indian relations with various
governments during the time periods of the American Revolution, Battle
of Fallen Timbers, or War of 1812, see the sections that bear those
This section is comprised mostly of
letters, speeches, and memorandums of French officials such as Cadillac,
Vaudreuil, Raudot, as well as speeches made by Native American leaders
to the French during council meetings. For the most part, this section
concerns the interactions that the French had with Native Americans
(specifically Odawa and Miami) residing in the areas around Detroit.
A collection of
essays and biographies, this section deals with the Christian
missionaries and the Native Americans who they came into contact with in
Michigan. The majority of this section concerns the activities of
missionaries (Jesuits, Moravians, etc.) who lived and worked in the
Detroit, Mackinac, and Grand Rapids areas.
This section, which consists almost
entirely of primary sources, concerns the Euro-American policy of giving
gifts to Native Americans and the importance of this policy as a
diplomatic instrument. It contains returns and lists of the items given,
instructions to Indian agents regarding how the gifts were to be
distributed, and statements made by agents regarding the quantities and
types of gifts that were necessary to further various political
This section discusses the conflicts that
occurred between different Native American societies both before and
after White contact, with concentrations of material on the conflicts
between the Ojibwe and the Sauk, as well as the conflicts between the
Odawa and the Miami.
Primary documents such as the reports of
military commanders and the speeches delivered by Native Americas, as
well as secondary sources describe the events leading up to the revolt,
the capture of Fort Michilimackinac, the siege of Detroit, and the
Composed mostly of historical
essays, this section includes discussion of the ancient burial mounds,
garden beds, grave goods, skeletal remains, and other "relics" of
Michigan's pre-European contact Native American cultures.
Composed of transcripts of the speeches
delivered by both Indians and Whites at numerous councils and meetings,
this section is subdivided into three categories: Indian nations'
councils with other Indian nations (1704-1807); Indian councils with the
British (1771-1828); and Indian councils with the Americans
This section references primary sources that
contain direct transcripts of treaties and discuss the diplomatic
relations and conditions which generated them, as well as secondary
sources discussing the process of treaty making and the results of
various agreements. This section is also subdivided into three
categories: Land cession treaties to individuals (1780-1797); treaties
with the British (1768-1795); and treaties with the Americans
This section is composed of a large
number of primary sources, such as speeches made by Native Americans and
letters of British and American military commanders, as well as several
secondary sources. Documents relate to the alliances created and
destroyed by the conflict, the involvement of Indians in battles and
military movements, and the relationship between the war and the
religious revitalization/revolt that was led by Tecumseh and his
brother, the Shawnee Prophet.
This bibliography was
compiled by Robert M. Hendershot and Michael W. Phillips Jr. in 2001. We
encourage users to direct any questions to the Clarke Historical
Library staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.