JANUARY 28, 1899

POTAWATOMI AUTHOR SIMON POKAGON, “RED MAN’S LONGFELLOW,” DIED

Potawatomi Chief Simon Pokagon was born in 1830 in Berrien County, Michigan.  His mother realized the importance of education and sent him to Notre Dame University.  Later, he attended Oberlin College and learned to speak five languages.  Twice, Simon met with President Lincoln over late payments for the lands his tribe had sold to the U.S.  He later wrote: “I went to see the greatest and best chief ever known.”  The payments were eventually made.  At the 1893 Columbian Exposition, upset that no Native Americans were invited to represent their people, Simon wrote The Red Man’s Greeting.  In this book, he set out a scathing attack on the white man’s conquering of their land.  He described how white men were initially viewed as parasites, but became as locusts and gobbled up their land.  As a result, the mayor of Chicago asked Pokagon to be the keynote speaker of the exposition.  Pokagon is deemed the “Red Man’s Longfellow.” He is buried in Rush Lake Indian Cemetery in Hartford, Michigan.

Source:  John Hodson, “Chief Simon Pokagon a Great Leader,” NWI Times, 5/28/2015.  Retrieved 6/6/2019, http://www.nwitimes.com/news/columnists/john-hodson/chief-simon-pokagon-a-great-leader/article_7d754853-12a2-5d99-9173-e2a3b7d3c530.html
Photo:  Author unknown, circa 1899.  Portrait appears in Chief Pokagon’s book "Queen of the Woods," copyright 1899.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less. 

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