Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Edward S. Rogers
The Algonkian speaking peoples of Georgian Bay
occupied the shoreline and island environment of eastern
Lake Huron, in Georgian Bay, between the French and Severn
Rivers. They were likely the product of a constant cultural
flux of peoples who came to occupy the shores and islands of
Georgian Bay perhaps as early as 1200 A.D., although the
archaeological evidence is problematic. Often regarded by
vague reference by historical observers who included them
with the Nipissing and the Ottawa during the seventeenth
century, the Georgian Bay Algonkian speaking peoples were
likely peoples of various origin. During the nineteenth
century they appear in the historical records as
Mississauga, Ojibwa, and Potowatomi, although these are
often political identifications.
This study attempts to piece together the
ethnohistory of the Georgian Bay Algonkian by presenting an
ethnographic account dating from precontact times to 1850.
The presence of Algonkian speaking peoples in the Georgian
Bay region has largely been neglected by ethnohistorians.
Identified as convenient trading partners (Heidenreich 1971:
293), and economic dependents of the Huron (Trigger 1976, 1:
168; 1985: 205), the Georgian Bay Algonkian speaking peoples have been considered to have had little influence in the
region (Jenness 1932: 276). It is not surprising that
little is known about them. Culturally, they have been
relegated to a rather ethnographically ambiguous position in
Great Lakes culture history.
By examining the archaeological, environmental, and
historical record this study argues that the Algonkian
speaking peoples of Georgian Bay were strongly influenced by
both their geographic and political position in an
environment where year round subsistence was available from
fishing, small game mammals, and corn (either traded or
cultivated). This economy in turn, influenced their ritual,
political and social organization. The extensive temporal
depth of this adaptation is followed through an examination
of regionally important historical influences, including a
devastating war with the Iroquois, various fur trades, an
influx of native immigration, government sponsored
settlement programs, and land surrenders. Within this
context, the history of the Algonkian speaking people of
Georgian Bay achieved cultural definition.
Lovisek, Joan A.M., "Ethnohistory of Algonkian Speaking People of Georgian Bay" (1991). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 3982.