First Inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region

argumentative Essay
4113 words
4113 words

The First Inhabitants of the Great Lakes Region in North America

As archeological discoveries of bone fragments and fossils continue to support the existence of homo-sapiens

in North America prior to the arrival of Indo-European explorers in the 15th century, this paper will attempt to

explain chronologically, which Native American inhabitants lived or migrated throughout what is known today as the

Great Lakes Region. This region includes lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario, & Erie as well as surrounding

U.S. state territories including Michigan, a significant portion of Wisconsin, small portions of Minnesota & Indiana, a

small part of Illinois and the Canadian providence of Ontario toward the north. In terms of chronological dates, this

paper will analyze the quaternary period, specifically the “Holocene epoch from 8000 B.C. to Present; the last 10,000

years ” (Quimby 2), since this epoch involved the fundamental evolution of mankind to the present. It is important to

realize that the late Pleistocene epoch had a dramatic affect on the migration patterns of homo-sapiens reaching “the

Americas by 14,000 ago” (O’Brien 12), after large portions of North America encountered the last ice age, which

through glaciation and glacial retreat affected the date of arrival and presence of indigenous people throughout the

Great Lakes Region.

Shortly following the glacial retreat of the upper Great Lakes region around 11,000 B.C., the flora and fauna

in the region began to develop prior to and upon the arrival of the “Paleo-Indian tribe, circa 7000 B.C. to 4500 B.C.”

(Quimby 6). Between this time period, in 6000 B.C., the basins of the upper Great Lakes became entirely ice free

and moraines and depressions began forming t...

... middle of paper ...

...indigenous inhabitants mentioned throughout this report. This led me

to conclude that Indian life in North America was without doubt, altered if not completely destroyed of its dignity,

prosperity and self-worth ever since the arrival of the white man to this very day.


Kubiak, William J. Great Lakes Indians. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House

Company, 1970.

O’Brien, Patrick K. Philips Atlas of World History. London : George Philip Limited, 1999.

Quimby, George I., Spaulding, Albert C. "The Old Copper Culture and the

Keweenaw Waterway" Fieldiana : Anthropology 36 no. 8 (1963): 189-201.

Quimby, George I. Indian Life in the Upper Great Lakes. Chicago: University of

Chicago Press, 1960.

Ritzenthaler E. Robert, Quimby, George I. "The Red Ocher of the Upper Great Lakes

and Adjacent Areas." Fieldiana : Anthropology 36 no.11 (1963): 243-275.

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that the last and most recent group of native americans to inhabit the great lakes region were the late indians.
  • Analyzes the quaternary period, specifically the holocene epoch from 8000 b.c. to present; the last 10,000 years.
  • Argues that the paleo-indians were a nomadic tribe, constantly on the move as land and environmental conditions changed.
  • Explains that the aqua-plano hunters and gatherers used lancets or pointed, double-edged blades. they inhabited the area in a nomadic fashion, moving and settling temporarily wherever fish or mammals became available.
  • Describes the borea-archaic as an advanced group of hunters and gatherers who used wood from the southern deciduous forest to their advantage.
  • Explains that the old copper tribe relied heavily on hunting caribou, deer, elk, and bison for survival.
  • Explains that the red ochers were co-occupants with the old copper tribe and used copper to construct flint points, awls, celts and ceremonial blades.
  • Explains that the early woodlands migrated from southern illinois along the illinois river until reaching the western shores of lake michigan. the hopewell indians were famous for building elaborate burial mounds over the dead using pottery.
  • Explains that the late woodland period is rather complex because it was the time of european exploration and settlement in the 17th century.
  • Explains that the late woodland indians came from southern locations along the mississippi valley and great plains. a warm climatic spell around 1000 a.d. favored this as the commencement of the late woodland tribal groups.
  • States that historians claim that upper great lake indians traded their goods with their adjacent neighbors and with the algonquin nation further south.
  • Explains that the miami occupied the western portion of michigan and their main village was situated along the banks of the "kankakee river, which rises in northern indiana and flows westward through northern illinois."
  • Explains that the fox tribe was an english nickname for the meshkwakihug tribe which stood for "red earth people." the chippewa were considered their worst enemies.
  • Explains that the chippewa were experts in constructing birch bark canoes and sailed throughout lake superior for fishing and trapping purposes.
  • Explains that the huron tribe originated in the 17th century when they were first spotted by a frenchman. they were neutral in their relationship with adjacent tribes, though at times settled at points further east.
  • Explains that the hurons' battle tactics were no match for the iroquoians who developed a sophisticated firearm weaponry system and bartering with french explorers further upstream.
  • Describes the last inhabitants of the great lakes region to be discussed in this essay, the "winnebago" which stands for "people of filthy water."
  • Explains that the winnebagos migrated from the dakotas to the mississippi river valley, along with siouan tribes, and used the convenience of water travel to their advantage.
  • Concludes that the arrival and settlement of indo-european immigrants into the great lakes region of north america dramatically altered the population and life expectancy of indigenous life.
  • Concludes that indian life in north america was altered if not completely destroyed of its dignity, prosperity, and self-worth since the arrival of the white man.
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