Thursday, June 23, 2005

Received Question About Early Native Americans in The Area. Anyone have an Answer?

A reader and former resident asked the following, "have always wondered who lived in the County (shore and inland) and Trail previous to the Ojibway coming into the area. The general history books say the Dakota or Lakota but when they get into details they talk about north/central Mn. Then I have heard the Assiniboine (Nakota), but again the details place them more towards Lake of the Woods. Then I have heard the Cree, but then the details I have seen seem to place them to the North. So for Cook County, It is a gray area. I hope you would consider opening up the History Blog to see if anybody has some information particular to our area. Betty Powell Skoog mentioned somewhere once that her family had told her about the Sioux wars or something so there may be stories out there"

I sure would like to know also. Anyone have any comments?


At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have this from a Thunder Bay source, "Opinions vary on this subject but the general view of historians is that the Ojibway came to this area about the same time or slightly before the European fur traders and displaced the Cree in the north and the Sioux in the regions further south. Hence the places with names like Sioux Lookout and Sioux Narrows. There are still many Cree in the far north and the Sioux moved west. A book entitled The Eagle of Thunder Cape, published in 1924 and reprinted in 2001 by the Thunder Bay Museum, recounts the oral tradition of the Ojibway of major battles between the Sioux and the Ojibway. This tradition holds that the Sioux and the Blackfoot joined forces to conquer the Ojibway and the Northern Cree. You might also check Andrew Warren's book on the Chippewa as it is usually accurate.

Archaeologists, however, differ with this view. There evidence shows that the Terminal Woodland Algonkian pre-historic people, characterized by their distinctive pottery and burial mounds, occupied this area from 750 AD to about 1650 AD when the Ojibway moved in. One scholar has written that the Terminal Woodland Algonkian people were, in fact, the Ojibway but this view is somewhat radical as the evidence for Ojibway migration at the time of the early fur trade is quite convincing. Most archaeologists, however, believe that the Terminal Woodland people were completely destroyed by or absorbed into the invading Ojibway culture, and that the Sioux wars came later when the Sioux invaded the territory. This view is backed by archaeological evidence while the historical view is backed by oral testimony and the second-hand accounts of missionaries. I don't know whether the Sioux ever resided in Thunder Bay area.


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