|Historic depiction of the St. Joseph River near Niles, Michigan|
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Let’s Talk About Transportation!
But first hello, my name is Julia Tanner and I am studying the impact of the St. Joseph River as a network for transportation around the time that Fort St. Joseph would have been active, (18th century). My research partner Lana and I are invested in finding out exactly what canoes were used for what jobs. What materials made up canoes that were for the fur trade business versus fishing canoes? An example would be that most Native Americans used birch bark canoes because of how light but durable they were. They were easier to carry on the ground when covering the area of a portage. Also how did the use of portages around this area of study affect canoes and the trading business? On a larger scale did the traders who were stationed up in Montreal around this frame use rivers to connect all the way down to Fort St. Joseph? We know that the St. Joseph River was an active channel for traveling and trading, we are going to research just how active and how far reaching the river went as a transportation and trade network.
Lana and I wanted to focus on transportation because everyone overlooks rivers and waterways now in the 21st century. Rivers were the original 1-94 or 131, the highways of a past lifeways and native people and foreign settlers depended on them for surviving and for making a living. Their importance to our past should never be overlooked.
By the end of this project Lana and I hope to have a working knowledge of people who used the St. Joseph River for trade and traveling. We also plan on having contact with community members, in and around Niles to give us more personal information on the river and the uses for it, such as active canoeist and local historians.