What an amazing man, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. According to our book, “Michigan Voices”, he was a French military officer in his 40’s. His goal was to work with the Native Americans to establish a settlement in Detroit to protect the French fur trade from the English and Iroquois. Cadillac believed that France could use this position to cut off British trade and establish a colony on the Detroit River. However, not everyone was approving of this venture. It took Cadillac a lot of convincing before finally making his move.
In our book, “Michigan Voices”, Cadillac has a timeline for everything. It starts with the first-year stationing themselves. Each year something new is added that made the colony bigger and better. For example; In the third and fourth year, he wanted to make sure to that there was a hospital for everyone. He also made sure to have a variety of people with different skills and trades come to the colony. Anything to make his colony prosperous and happy that was his goal was.
As far as the prejudices against the Native Americans, I think that they were mostly favorable, even if it was to his advantage. Cadillac wanted to set up his own little town, so to say, and have everyone live a happy and healthy life. Cadillac wanted unity and friendships among all. In his colony, everyone worked together to maintain and protect it. He even wanted the soldiers and Canadians to be able to marry the savage women. In his mind, this would strengthen the friendships and trust with the tribes.
Cadillac, in my opinion, wanted to work with the Native Americans. Not only to better them, but to better themselves as well. He designed a colony to help the Native Americans by teaching them their language. His words, “We take the wild beasts at their birth, birds in their nests, to tame them and set them free”, (Michigan Voices). Native Americans didn’t feel like they were savages in his colony. To me, they felt that they were just as much part of it as were the soldiers or Canadians that resided there. And as far as the women go, it sounded like they would have preferred to marry a soldier or Canadian versus a Native American. These types of marriages strengthened the friendships of tribes. In my opinion, the women were the major pawns to keep the peace in the colony as well as to help strengthen it.
Cadillac wrote this piece to let us all know as well as his superiors in France what his intentions were. Not only did he express the benefits of starting a colony to France, he also made it quite clear to the Native Americans how this colony would benefit them. They would be taught and then freed. He may have not had great success in doing this, but it made an impact on history.
I hope you all enjoyed reading my very first blog.