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Michilimackinac

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Michilimackinac Indians (Mǐshǐma‛kǐnung, ‘place of the big wounded person,’ or ‘place of the big lame person.’ – W. J). A name applied at various times to Mackinac Island in Mackinac County, Michigan; to the village on this island; to the village and fort at Pt St Ignace on the opposite mainland, and at an early period to a considerable extent of territory in the upper part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. It is derived from the name of a supposed extinct Algonquian tribe, the Mishinimaki or Mishinimakinagog.

According to Indian tradition and the Jesuit Relations, the Mishinimaki formerly had their headquarters at Mackinac Island and occupied all the adjacent territory in Michigan. They are said to have been at one time numerous and to have had 30 villages, but in retaliation for an invasion of the Mohawk country they were destroyed by the Iroquois. This must have occurred previous to the occupancy of the country by the Chippewa on their first appearance in this region. A few were still there in 1671, but in Charlevoix’s time (1744) none of them remained. When the Chippewa appeared in this section they made Michilimackinac island one of their chief centers, and it retained its importance for a long period. In 1761 their village was said to contain 100 warriors. In 1827 the Catholic part of the inhabitants, to the number of 150, separated from the others and formed a new village near the old one. When the Hurons were driven west by the Iroquois they settled on Mackinac island. where they built a village some time after 1650. Soon thereafter they removed to the Noquet islands in Green Bay, but returned about 1670 and settled in a new village on the adjacent mainland, where the Jesuits had just established the mission of St Ignace. After this the Hurons settled near the mission the fugitive Ottawa also settled in a village on the island where Nouvel established the mission of St Francis Borgia among them in 1677, and when the Hurons removed to Detroit, about 1702, the Ottawa and Chippewa continued to live at Michilimackinac.


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