April 28, 2012
It’s hard to let the Northern Lights go when they come for a visit as they did earlier this week, so here’s one more shot! You can read all about Point Iroquois Light from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light.
The Iroquois tribe made their home far away in New York. Point Iroquois is located at the east end of Lake Superior, where the lake narrows into the St. Mary’s River. If you’re wondering like I was how this point came to bear their name, the brochure for Point Iroquois has the answer:
The area around Sault Ste. Marie (“The Soo”), including Whitefish Bay, has been called the “Heartland” of the Chippewa Indians. This tribe is also called Ojibwa, and sometimes refer to themselves as “Anishinabeg,” which is their word for “original people.” The Iroquois lived about 400 miles away, mostly in what is now western New York. In the 1600’s these nations were at war, at least in part because of European influence and fur trade competition. The Iroquois often sent expeditions far from their homeland and attempted to control the trade routes leading east from the Great Lakes.
Accounts of an important battle at Point Iroquois in 1662 have been passed down for over 300 years. They tell how an Iroquois war party camped near the point where the lighthouse now stands, and how the Chippewa secretly watched their movements and mounted a surprise attack near dawn. The Iroquois were defeated decisively, and apparently never again ventured this far west.