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Pontiac

I like to write poetry about historical occurrences that are not widely known but probably should be. Pontiac is one. Most of the forgotten stories of the indian wars are the earlier ones. I like these because the fights were more fair. The wars out west no way was they going to win, but in the midwest for a season or two, sometimes the indians got to win.  He was really the first native american to do cross tribal organizing, outside of an organized confederation, to oppose the expansions of the whites into their territory. When I read an account of Pontiac’s War  I found him really hard to relate to but wanted to tell his story. He wasn’t very sympathetic coming off as kind of a bully, very concerned about his own ego, and a cannibal to boot. But when the siege of Detroit was finally broken I really felt for him. This poem rolled out easily then.

My name is Pontiac

I am a chief like my father before me

Of the Ottawa who won’t bend their knee

At the foot of the whiteman

The French came to our land to trade

And we liked the things they made

Liked the guns and rum

We bartered furs to get us some

Now we’ll use our sharp knives and our guns

Now that the english they have come

They say they beat the french in a war

And we don’t own our land anymore

But we’ve never been conquered

So I’ve gone from tribe to tribe

I try to explain I try to describe

The future that’s coming

Some say the english they are few

In a few forts what can they do?

But the settlers are coming

With their saw and plough and fence

And its only common sense

Their won’t be room for the red man

So we put Detroit under siege

We took twelve more forts like a breeze

And the settlements they are burning

But winter it has finally come

And my warriors they’re fighting is done

They have to hunt to feed their famies

And the war is over

We had our dreams we had our plans

But now its over

The french cannon they never came

The promised troops were just the same

When the white man speaks He speaks in lies

The indians pay The indians die

The english have come

And they’re here to stay

We might fight another day

But for now its over

Categories: history, poetry
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