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Birch Bark Wigwam, built by Chief Simon Pokagon, dedicated in 1911

Wigwam built by Chief Simon Pokagon
                                                                                                         Julia Quakano Pokagon is standing in front of the wigwam doorway.

GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, THURSDAY, JUNE 15, 1911


 

RECALLS BIG CHIEF


Birch Bark Wigwam Dedicated at Ypsilanti.

POKAGON   BUILT  IT


Head of Pottawatomies Honored
at Normal School.


Granddaughter of Warrior Crowns Girl
student as the "White Princess
of Michigan."


(The Evening Press Detroit Bureau.)

Yypsflanti [Ypsilanti], June 15, - Students of the Ypsilanti State Normal college have proved themselves wide awake by seizing an opportunity to buy an historic Indian tepee, which was placed on the college campus near Science hall with appropriate dedicatory exercises today.

The wigwam is a relic of the ones great tribe of Pottawattamies, the ruling Indians of southern Michigan and keepers of the great council fire of the northwest, having been built at Hartford by the last of the Pottawattamie chiefs, Simon Pokagon.

At his home near Ruch [Rush] lake, north of Hartford, Chief Pokagon completed the tepee for exhibition at the Chicago World's fair.  It is twenty-four feet high and sixteen feet in diameter, made of a double layer of white birch bark - a typical Indian home - and it excited the admiration of visitors from all parts of the world.

The old chief took the tepee home with him at the close of the fair and after his death it became the property of C.H. Englee [Engle], a Hartford attorney, who has been the friend and advisor of the Pokagon band of Pottawattamies for the last half century.

Standing on the lawn of the Engle home the tepee has been one of the points of interest to Hartford sightseers and from there has been shipped to various parts of the country for exhibition.

Dedicated by Granddaughter

Perhaps the most notable of these journeys was into Indiana in October, 1909. It was here that the granddaughter of the late Chief Pokagon unveiled the Pottawattamie statue on the seventy-first anniversary of the removal of the Indians from the state of Indiana.

Pokagon's granddaughter, Julia Quakano Pokagon, delivered the dedicatory address at Ypsilanti.  Following the address the Indian princess crowned Miss Nettie L. Purdy with a handsome birch bark certificate of her new title.

Attorney C.H. Engle of Hartford gave a short history of the tepee and also a sketch of the life of his noted friend, Chief Simon Pokagon.

In the evening an old time campfire will be kindled near the tepee, and Indian anecdotes and stories will be told.


Information for this web site was gathered from personal interviews, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, personal photo albums, and other documented materials - many available to the public at the Hartford Public Library or Van Buren County Historical Museum.  Please report any typographical errors, updated information, or incorrectly stated information to the webmaster for correction.  Reprinting for personal and instructional purposes is permitted, however, unauthorized commercial reprinting of this information or unauthorized linking to photos-pictures on this site is strictly prohibited without written permission from the webmaster. 



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A Pictorial History of Hartford, Michigan
Emma Thornburg Sefcik,
Competent Secretarial Service
Copyright 2000 - All rights reserved.


Revised: May 27, 2015


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