A place in between : the story of a French and Miami family

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Harrison, Jennifer Yantis
Sumner, David E., 1946-
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of History
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A Place In Between tells the story of the Old Northwest through a French family who lived in Quebec and on the Wabash valley from the 1660s through the 1860s. The Brouillette family illustrates the rise and fall of a cultural and geographical middle ground forged by whites and Algonquian-speaking Indians of the Great Lakes region. The Woodland tribes discussed include the Miami, Wea, Piankashaw, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Delaware and Ottawa. The white participants of this middle ground were primarily French, but were joined at times by certain English, Scottish, Irish and Americans.The middle ground and trade culture created a people of mixed heritage called metis by the French, which means mixed-blood. Because of their place between cultures metis often acted as arbitrators of culture. They often found employment as interpreters, scouts or in the fur trade. The fall of the middle ground included the loss of a valuable Indian country to native people, as well as a shift from a rich cultural interchange to a socially and politically inferior status for the tribal people of the central Great Lakes.This story traces the lives of three main characters: Michel Brouillette, the elder and younger who were both traders; and the French-Miami son, Tahquakeah. Flashbacks to French ancestors illustrate the early creation of the middle ground through trade and military alliances.