Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2001 17:01:48 -0500 From: Suzanne B Sommerville <110435.1567@compuserve.com> Subject: Re: Marie Mite8ameg8k8e To: Norm Leveillee


Norm,
I really enjoyed the imaginative recreation of Marie's life, the detailsyou added, and the respect that radiates from your writing.

You write: "Several days before, a band of Iroquois warriors had attacked her village, the village to which Assababich, her two children and a very close cousin had fled to when the Iroquois had pushed the Hurons, then the Algonkins from the fertile valley around Michillimakinac."

I think the geography is confused. The Iroquois pushed the Hurons from the area that is now the province of Ontario, most of that happening _by_ 1650, when the Jesuits from Saint-Marie-among-the Hurons burnt that mission (1649) and led a group to Québec after a disastrous stay at St. Joseph Island. Some _Hurons_ sought refuge in the area near Michillimakinac at that time, true, but the Iroquois did not attack that area then, to my knowledge. The Iroquois attacks on Huronia affected the Algonquine tribes (to be distinguished from the Algonkin _language_ groups in modern-day Upper Michigan), though, for as Lucien Campeau writes: " . . .the enemy completed its reign of terror and destruction, creating a waste-land stretching from Montreal to Sault-Sainte-Marie for a period of more than fifteen years, where only wild animals and Iroquois hunters could move about. The remaining Algonquins [that's Algonquins, not the Ojibway or Sauteurs of Michillimackinac and Sault-Sainte-Marie, who also spoke the Algonkin language] in that area had gathered together on Lake Nipissing to fish for sturgeon and then go down to Trois-Rivières. A good number of them were Christians. The Iroquois attacked them by surprise and led off into captivity all those whom they had not killed. Only a few women escaped to carry the news." (p. 265, _The Jesuit Mission Among the Hurons_, Special Anniversary Edition, English translation available from Steve Catlin, scatlin@pathcom.com ) Steve is associated with the reconstructed Saint-Marie-among-the Hurons in Midland, Ontario. Campeau's work is based on the Jesuit writings, our only real source for the period, and he is the foremost scholar about this period.

Pachirini was from the Algonquin group associated with Allumette Island (possibly Tessouat's tribe), not Michillimackinac. So if Marie was with Pachirini she would possibly have been near Lake Nipissing. I really doubt she was from Michillimakinac, but that's a point that remains to be proven. Try to convince me (grin)

"Two young children of the French colonists, named Radisson and Crevier, along with a group of Algonkins and French were also abducted and brought back to Ossernenon, village of the Mohawks, to be used as slaves."

Again, I am not sure where everyone is. It sounds like they are back at what you call Marie's village. These abductions took place during an attack at Trois-Rivières, didn't they? And the Iroquois "adopted" prisoners primarily to replace members of their family who had died. Some of these "adopted" members even refused to return to the colony in a later exchange of prisoners, so it could not have been all bad for some of them who became "family".

"members of Pachirini's clan who lived in proximity of the fort." at Trois-Rivières, right? And as you know, the Mohawks were in what is now New York State.

"a few arpents (about one acre)" _one_ arpent is about an acre. In 1681 he had 4 arpents cleared and in use.

"send soldiers, one of which was the Carignan Regiment," It's the only _regiment_ ever sent, although more troops were sent in the late 1680s.

Germano traveled to the pays-d'en-haut to trade. I don't know to what extent he hunted, if at all. It was the Indians who did the hunting and the French who traded with them for their pelletries and loaded them on canoes to transport back to the colony, where they sold them to cover the costs of the merchandise they had purchased on credit. Any surplus over and above their cost for merchandise and the expedition was theirs. That's how they made their living. Before the system of "congés" or permits to trade, the Indians carried the furs down to the colony themselves. The Iroquois attacks disrupted this system. No furs came down for quite a while. With the establishment of the posts in the pays-d'en-haut, the Indians no longer needed to transport the furs themselves. The French went up for them. This was again disrupted by the Iroquois in the late 1680s and somewhat in the 1690s until the Peace of 1701 signed by French, Iroquois and Western Tribes. The Western Tribes complicated matters by attacking the Iroquois themselves after this. There was a great deal of inter-tribal conflict, revenge, and rivalry. The Peace of 1701 had one simple provision: the tribes were to go to Onontio, the French governor, if they were attacked. They were not to retaliate without consulting with him. For a while it worked, but the French did not always respond in a timely fashion to the violations of the treaty. It's really quite involved. I have read the transcripts of the councils held at Detroit and at Montréal and Québec with the Indian delegates in the 1701-1708 period. They are wonderful to read, filled with beautiful metaphoric language and mutual respect. The Indians are not subservient, only polite. They speak for their rights. Joachim was again travelling up to Michillimackinac in 1685, back in the colony in 1687, leaves again in 1692, and was there in 1694, the last known reference to him. I believe Isabelle travelled with him, and Cadillac places her in Michillimackinac between 1695 and 1697.

"Marguerite married Jean Fafard, son of the merchant Fafard from Évreux, France, in the winter (February) of 1688 in Sorel, because there still was not a chapel at St-François-du-Lac." I would still like to know the source for this date. I know Vincens cites it but without source, and no record seems to survive. Madeleine is still identified as celibate, the daughter of Pierre on 19 Oct 1689 when she served as godmother for Pierre, a Soquoquis. And Madeleine is also identified as daughter of Pierre (not wife of Ménard) on 12 March 1690. We can be fairly sure, though, that both Madeleine and Marguerite were in Michillimackinac in the 1690s (because their husbands can be documented there then, and I have not seen them on any colony records. Fafard and Ménard were primarily interpreters by then, particularly Maurice.), and their first children were _probably_ born there, although the records have not survived, except for Antoine Ménard's in 1695. "remembered in history by the simplistic listing, written by Elisée Crey, Recollet Priest, Pastor of Trois Rivières, on her burial certificate as a "sauvagesse" - "a female savage"." The record reads: "L'an mil six cent quatre vingt dixneuf Le huitieme Janvier aesté inhumée dans le Cimetière dela paroisse nostre dame des Trois Rivières madame Lafleure sauvagesse veuve Monsieur Lafleur apres avoir reçu tous les sacrements dou[é] les sentiments dun veritable Chréstien --par moy prestre Recolet faisans les fonctions Curialles . frere Elisée Crey Recolet. Notice she is "Madame" widow of "Monsieur" and a true Christian. I don't see any disrespect in this entry. [FHL microfilm #1298969] I'll say it again: It makes a difference to go to the original source whenever possible.

The terms "sauvage" and "sauvagesse" were simply the French terms used to identify the native peoples in a general way. Only in later years when understood in their distorted English mistranslation did the terms acquire a negative connotation as "savage". The French relationship with the "sauvages" was totally different from what occurred in the English colonies, a tribute to the lack of prejudice among the French, in particular in those early years. "Sauvage" could well be translated as "native", the peoples living in the "wild" (that's what sauvage means), untouched by the civilisation of Europe until the Europeans arrived. They had to have a general term to use when referring to them. In English language documents the term Indian was used, another misnomer but nevertheless part of the historical record. A similar thing happened to the term "negre" or "negro", which simply meant black, a term currently accepted, ironically. I am convinced that misundertandings about translating or interpretting words has caused irrepairable harm.
In my reading of the early records, the actual ones, not the commentaries by later writers, I see little if any "prejudice" until the issue becomes political and involves the French / English broader conflict when the natives become pawns to these political ambitions, that or the eau de vie issue. The French even allowed the "sauvages" to administer their own justice to their own. They were considered sovereign people, not subjects of France. It was the English who claimed they were subjects of Britain. The French and their Indian allies needed each other, including the Iroquois after the Peace of 1701. I have seen too many hundreds of records of the French standing as godparents and witnesses at the religious ceremonies of the "sauvages" to believe otherwise. This was still occurring at Trois-Rivières in the late 1750s, in a register I have recently examined. And there was far too much ntermarriage for "prejudice" to have been rampant. The English experience, though, was totally different.

At any rate, those are my comments. I realize you call this a romanticized version, but I still hate to see misconceptions perpetuated about Pierre and Marie and all their children, AND the French experience. The French experience has not been reported well in the English language texts. Thanks for sharing and for giving me the incentive to write some of my thoughts on these issues. They will probably be incorporated into the next phase of my work-in-progress. I have so much to report.
Suzanne
 

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