Algonquin Chief Pontiac / macmillanmh.com

Algonquin Chief Pontiac / macmillanmh.com

Some of our many readers will be disappointed that this post is not composed about the finely-produced American quality motorcar that I fear has passed away and perhaps been buried. No, I talk about Pontiac, born around 1720, leader of a ‘Native America’ confederacy of tribes, most of his life a faithful friend to the French in North America.

After the defeat of the French armies in 1759, and subsequent occupation of their forts by the English, Pontiac assembled the many Algonquian tribes ready to face what he considered would be typically English intransigence, expansion, and untrustworthiness.

Ottawa, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Wyandot, Shawnee and Delaware braves rose in a beautifully concerted frontier attack from the Great Lakes to Virginia (this is a great distance) in May of 1763. The only surviving settlements were Detroit and Fort Pitt. Many settlers and their families were killed, the majority of them in the west of Pennsylvania. After this the English sent revengeful expeditions which achieved some success and weakened the confederacy.

In 1766 (just ten years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence) Pontiac made peace on behalf of the Confederacy with the English. Perhaps he should not have done, because he was soon murdered (as a consequence of the peace) by hired Indian assassins (1769). He was just forty-nine years old. His name lives on in Pontiac the automobile, named for him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *