The Ojibwa Women: 1763

Chapter 2 (Really speeding along here!)

During a baggataway game held just outside the walls of Fort Michilimackinac, near Lake Michigan, Ojibwa women played a crucial role. The fort’s gates were open, as it was also a trading post, and most of the people conducting the trade were Ojibwa women. During the baggataway game, an Ojibwa lobbed a ball inside the fort and went after it in hot pursuit, accompanied by his brethren. Once inside, their women “drew tomahawks, knives, and other weapons from under their blankets and handed them to their brothers and husbands, who set upon the garrison. The warriors’ victory was as complete as the soldiers’ surprise.”

Result: “16 redcoats and one trader” killed on the spot.

The fort’s previous (French) commander, Lt. Charles-Michel Mouet de Langlade, had hung around after the fort’s handover to the British. This was a stroke of luck, because Langlade, who had an Ottawa mother and a French father, was able to persuade the Ojibwa to spare the life of the fort’s British commander, who instead was shipped 500 miles down the Great Lakes to a French outpost in Montreal.

A nearby British fort, Fort Detroit, was spared only because the fort’s British commander had been warned of an impending assault by his “Native American lover.”

So, eyebrows really rising here at the notion that mixed race was common in the colonies by the 18th century (Exhibit A: Lt. Langlade) and were moreover holding positions in the French army. Also: the “Native American lover” of the British commander (probably produced progeny?)

So much fun to speculate!

Stay tuned.

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