Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Within the context of the Upper Great Lakes region, this thesis analyzes Algonkian-British relations primarily through an examination of the gatherings at British posts where presents were given and received. The study focuses on the period between 1815, when inhabitants of this region learned that British and American officials had formally ended the War of 1812, and 1843, the final year in which members of the British Indian department officially gave presents to all Algonkian visitors regardless of their place of residence within the region. During this period, the British government distributed presents to Algonkians of this region on Drummond Island (1815-1828), on St. Joseph Island (1829), at Penetanguishene (1830-1835), and on Manitoulin Island (from 1836). Families from the Ojibwa, Ottawa, Menominee, and Potawatomi Nations residing along the north shore of Georgian Bay, along the north shore and the nearby islands of Lake Huron, the west shore of Lake Huron north of Saginaw Bay, around most of Lake Michigan, and around Lake Superior travelled to these locations.;These annual gatherings were important forums for Algonkian leaders and British officials. Algonkian leaders presented the concerns of their communities at these meetings and attempted to ensure that British actions would fulfil British promises; British officers announced governmental policies and tried to retain connections with these Algonkian peoples. Throughout these years, Algonkian-American relations and British-American affairs influenced Algonkian-British interactions. Because Algonkians regarded the giving and receiving of presents as vitally important to maintaining relationships, the British government's decision to stop distributing presents after 1843 to those Indian people residing primarily within what American and British officials regarded as the United States signified to these Algonkians that their historic connection with the Crown formally ended in 1843.;This study demonstrates the high calibre of Algonkian leadership. Recalling British promises, Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Menominee spokesmen insisted that the British government was morally obligated to continue giving presents to Algonkian peoples. These leaders also raised issues connected with rapid and irrevocable changes stemming primarily from non-Indian settlers' demands for more land. Algonkian leaders dealt with officials representing British and American governments and resisted the efforts of these authorities to classify Algonkian peoples as either British or American: Algonkian peoples had their own identities. The commitment of Algonkian leaders to retaining their peoples' territories, resources, and culture defined the core of their beliefs and shaped their active participation in the tripartite dynamics of this region.



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