Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Native Uses of the St. Joseph River

A historic view of the St. Joseph River
Hello everyone! My name is Alicia Gregory and I am an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University, majoring in Anthropology and Biomedical Science. My research partner Carole and I are focusing on how Native American’s used the St. Joseph River around the time Fort St. Joseph and hopefully pre-fort period. What were Native Americans settlement locations based in part to the river? Were there rituals or beliefs involved with the river? An example would be that every time when Natives would get in their canoes and go hunting or just even traveling they would lay tobacco in the water to give thanks because the water supports life and helps with safe journeys. What are some activities that they did that related to the river? These are just a few questions we are hoping to get answered throughout the remainder of the semester.

I decided to focus on the Native American uses of the river because being Native American myself, I thought that it would be interesting to see how they used the rivers in their everyday lives. Many of us know that Native Americans lived off the land but few know how they used the rivers to connect with other tribes, hunt, and even how important it was for them. That is something that my research partner and I want to know so that we can learn about how Natives lived based off the river.

By the end of this project Carole and I are hoping to have uncovered just how Native Americans used the river and hopeful give visitors to the city of Niles some history about the river in general. We have already been in contact with one of our community partner gathering personal knowledge on the Native groups that lived along the river. However, we are planning on contacting local historians in and around Niles to give us more information how what was used from the river and how it impacted their lives.

          -  Alicia Gregory 

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