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Feb 5 1812: Petition of the Wyandot Chiefs



On 5 February 1812 a group of Wyandot (also known as Huron) native chiefs petition the United States government to protect their remaining lands near Brownstown and Monguagon south of Fort Detroit. The Wyandot Indians had become farmers but their lands were threatened by westward march of American settlers. Part of their petition reads as follows:
Fathers, listen! If you really want to ameliorate our condition, let us have the land given to us; we have built valuable houses, and improvements on the same; we have learned the use of the plough; but now we are told we are to be turned off the land in fifty years.
Fathers, listen! This has given us great uneasiness; This pretence of bettering our situation, it appears, is only for a temporary purpose: for, should we live on the land for fifty years, as farmers, and then be turned off, we will be very miserable indeed. By that time, we shall have forgot how to hunt, in which practice we are now very expert, and then you’ll turn us out of doors, a poor, pitiful, helpless set of wretches.…
Source: American State Papers, Indian Affairs, volume 1 (Washington, D.C.: Gale & Seaton, 1832).
The Wyandot were later to play a role in the Battle of Brownstown which was an early skirmish in the War of 1812. American forces outnumbered the British Native allies but lost the battle and suffered substantial losses. The battle occurred near Brownstown, a Wyandot village south of Fort Detroit on Brownstown creek. The American forces numbered about 200 when they were attacked by two dozen soldiers led by the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh, Chickamauga war chief Daimee, Wyandot chief Roundhead and several others. The Americans retreated but the untrained militia panicked and scattered. The Americans suffered 18 deaths, 12 wounded and 70 men went missing.


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