Native History: Chief Pontiac Murdered in Cahokia
This Date in Native History: On April 20, 1769, Ottawa war chief Pontiac was murdered in Cahokia, Illinois.
One of the most famous war chiefs, Pontiac united 18 tribes and inspired them to take action against the British invasion in the entire Great Lakes region. Through Pontiac’s leadership, several British forts were overcome and suffered substantial losses.
Pontiac did not have the same aversion to the French, who treated Natives as equals and intermarried and traded fairly, wrote Edward Reilly in Legends of American Indian Resistance.
Fewer in number than the British, the French provided the Natives with protection, just as the Natives offered protection for the French. Pontiac traveled from Kentucky to Canada in the early 1760s calling for the extermination of the British. His first recorded speech, explains the relationships.
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