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Chief Pontiac - A Brief History

In 1926, Oakland introduces the first Pontiac car. The new 'Chief of the Sixties' a six cylinder car, is named after an indian chief of the same name... this is a brief history of that chief.

Chief and Leader of Many Tribes - Chief Pontiac (1720 - 1769) was a great leader of the Ottawa Indian tribe. He organised his and other tribes in the Ohio Country (modern day Ohio, eastern Indiana, Western Pensylnavia and North-Western West Virginia) to fight the British in what is known as Pontiac's War (1763-1764)

French and Indian Wars - The conclusion of the French and Indian Wars, which saw various Ohio Indian tribes allied to the French, resulted in all French lands in North America being turned over to the Biritish under the Treaty of Paris (1763). Prior to the wars, the French traders and Indian tribes had coesixted well, trading furs for supplies like food, guns, ammunition and tobacco. However, the British were contemptuous of the Indians, limiting trade and angering the tribes, who feared further expansion of the colonies.

Attacking the British -Pontiac became chief of the Ottawa Indians in 1755. He soon became the head of the Council of Three Tribes, a group consisting of the Ottawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwa people. In 1762 , Pontiac enlisted all of the local tribes to drive out the British. A great council was held near Fort Detroit on 27 April 1763, where Pontiac delivered a speech, in which the wrongs of the English were recounted, and Pontiac's strategy was laid out. Each tribe was to dispose of the garrison at their nearest fort, and then to eliminate the British settlements. Pontiac planned to begin the rebellion by taking Fort Detroit.

Attacking Detroit and the Other Forts - The taking of Fort Detroit was to be Pontiac's special task,and the 7th of May was to be the day of the attack, but the plot was disclosed to the commander of the post by an Indian girl, and in consequence Pontiac found the garrison prepared. Although Detroit wasn't taken, the tribes did capture eight of the twelve forts that they attacked, and the settlements were left in ruins.

Surrender -By 1764 the French no longer spported the Indian efforts and, although Pontiac didn't formally agree a peace treaty with the British until July 1766, the rebellion effectively ended in the autumn of that year. A Peoria Indian murdered him 3 years later.

American Revolution - Pontiac's war showed how weak a grasp Britain had over the Ohio Country. Faced with bankruptcy following this and the French wars, and fearful of further Indian uprisings, Britain enacted the Proclamation of 1763. The Act forced the British colonists to live east of the Appalachian Mountains and set aside the land west of the mountains for the Indians. Britain hoped this would ease tensions and prevent further conflicts with the Indians, instead the policy partly led to the American revolution by convincing Americans that Britain did not understand or care for the Colonists' interests. The Act stayed in effect until 4th July 1776.

Pontiac Division Of GM - The 'portrait' of Chief Pontiac, wearing a feather head-dress went on to appear as the Pontiac divisions' company logo for many years.

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