Maintaining a Balance of Power: Michilimackinac, the Anishinaabe Odawas, and the Anglo-Indian War of 1763
- Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 13, Number 1, Winter 2015
- pp. 38-79
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The famous story of the fall of Michilimackinac is now part of the well-known lore of the war called Pontiac’s. Yet few accounts pause long enough to understand the causes, course, and consequences of the Anglo-Indian War from the perspective of the Anishinaabe people who lived there. Read carefully against the long- and short-term context, the seemingly confused and complex course of events at Michilimackinac in the summer of 1763 can be seen as part of a long-running Anishinaabe strategy to maintain independence in the region by ensuring a balance of power—between Europeans and the Anishinaabeg and other Algonquians of the north, but also between those nations and their southern rivals. Thus, events at the straits of Michilimackinac illuminate some similarities to—but also critical differences from—the war farther south. They also shed much-needed light on inter- and intra-Indian relations both at Michilimackinac and across the pays d’en haut as well as on Indian-European relations in the middle decades of the century. Indeed, events at Michilimackinac compel us to reconsider both English and French relations with the Anishinaabeg and even the very nature and extent of European imperialism in the region.