Pontiac’s Grave

A large ugly parking garage squatted on the corner of Broadway and Walnut a block from my hotel. On the corner was a plaque that read:

Here lies the remains of Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa people and leader of the greatest alliance of Native Americans against the white expansion in the United States and Canada.

Pontiac was born around 1720 and became chief of the Ottawas in 1755. Pontiac organized a coalition of tribes that stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. In 1763 the tribes truck simultaneously at 14 British posts. Pontiac personally led the five-month attack on Fort Detroit, which ended in defeat when Britain forged peace with France, its other adversary for expansion in the New World. Pontiac realized the hopelessness of his cause and negotiated a peace treaty with the British in 1765.

In 1769 a member of a rival tribe in Cahokia, Illinois murdered Pontiac. His remains were buried here, then the edge of the village of St. Louis.

Somewhere I read that this spot used to be a Catholic cemetery.

The plaque is visible as the dark rectangle on the white corner of the parking garage in the background under the arch. I thought it a rather pathetic memorial.

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