• UNIT-Local History Component
    Title:  The Sault"s First Indian Agent
    Focus: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was the region"s first U.S. Indian Agent.

    Connection: Remember the treaty agreements made with the Native Americans. 

    Teaching Point:Today we will learn about Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, the first U.S. Indian agent in this region. Teaching Point:

    Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was the area’s first U.S. Indian Agent, beginning in 1822.

    a.  Henry Rowe Schoolcraft came to the Sault with Col. Brady in 1822 to be the Indian agent for the U.S. government.

    b.   Schoolcraft married John Johnston’s daughter Jane, and they built their home and Indian Agency, “Elmwood.”

    c.  Schoolcraft studied and wrote about the legends and customs of the Chippewa.

    Resource Material for Teachers:

    As noted earlier, Henry Schoolcraft’s introduction to Sault Ste. Marie came as a member of the Cass Expedition in 1820. Schoolcraft was trained in mineralogy, and the expedition had as one of its goals the investigation of the known mineral potential of the Lake Superior region.

                In 1822, Schoolcraft was appointed Indian Agent for Sault Ste. Marie, which brought him back to the area. A year later, he was married to Jane Johnston, eldest daughter of John and Susan Johnston, who have been discussed in earlier sections of this guide. Since Jane spoke fluent Ojibwe, it was natural that Henry would begin to acquire that language, and become familiar with Ojibwa legends. He made his fame as an ethnologist, and also is credited with negotiating the Treaty of Washington of 1836, in which the United Sates was ceded a huge tract of land that included a large part of the present-day state of Michigan. He was the author of numerous books dealing with North American Indians. His brother, James Schoolcraft, came to the Sault some time after Henry had arrived. James became a trader and, like Henry, married one of John Johnston’s daughters. He was murdered in July 1846 — ambushed in a thicket behind his house. The murderer was never found, nor is it known who committed the crime, which is perhaps the longest standing unsolved crime in the Sault’s history.

                Because of Henry Schoolcraft’s fame, his name is attached to a county, a village, and a college in Michigan.   


    Active Engagement: Color Book with descriptive text pages 24-25student pages.

    Share: Class reading of "Hiawatha" with discussion of Native American terminology.

Last Modified on February 14, 2018