Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Hands on history

For an anthropology minor such as myself, every anthropology class I have taken has been really insightful and very interesting. But this class, Anthropology in the Community, has really kicked my interest in anthropology into high gear. This class has presented a real hands on learning opportunity for me to learn more about a site that I had never heard of before: Fort St. Joseph. Even though I've taken Michigan history courses and anthropology classes that focused on this region, I can honestly say I had never come across this fort in my studies. Hearing that this site is trying to take its place in the history of the French traders as well as the state of Michigan itself and being able to be apart of that is an amazing opportunity.   
As my partner, Kyle has previously stated, our focus in the storehouses and the powder magazine and we have found evidence of documented goods that would have seemed  traveled through . Due to the fact that the site has little remains of any of the physical buildings that we believe once stood there, we have based much of our research on what we have seen at other forts around the state and its neighbors. These storehouses would have been very important considering the large volume of French traders and missionaries transporting trading goods such as food or even weaponry throughout the state(s). This sort of revenue not only could have benefited the fort but the travelers and small towns that were either nearby or were part of the fort.
By focusing on the other forts, we can hope to find patterns that hopefully paint a better picture of what this mysterious fort would have looked like and how it functioned. Also by hopefully finding these clues, we want to better educate others on how significant Fort St. Joseph could/would have been. Taking what we discover and displaying that information for people from all to see, will and has been a really fun experience. I hope to see a large turnout for when we contribute our project to the exhibit, and to hopefully give Fort St. Joseph a better shoutout.

            Jenna Combs

1 comment:

Suzanne Boivin Sommerville said...

I applaud your enthusiasm and desire to learn. I'm sure you are aware of "Ft. Pontchartrain at Detroit: A Guide to the Daily Lives of Fur Trade and Military Personnel, Settlers, and Missionaries at French Posts" by Timothy J. Kent. It includes these details: "the King's Storekeeper had meticulously recorded every single item of equipment, provisions, and trade goods, along with the transport containers. That 18-page cargo manifest, discovered, and translated by the author, provides a minutely detailed insider's view of life at a French trading post and military fort three centuries ago."

I also found a copy of this list on a microfilm about the same time Tim did. Far more items
than the weapons you mention are listed, including textiles that made up a huge portion of
the trade, and, unfortunately, are not likely to have survived. Tim is currently offering a
25% discount. See