Posted by on May 4, 2018

HST 812 Web Map

Since about halfway through the semester, my main objective in HST 812 has been to produce a preliminary web map to hopefully develop further with the aid of a Cultural Heritage Informatics Graduate Fellowship in the near future. Unfortunately, I did not foresee just how challenging such a project could prove. I set out with high hopes, but I must confess that I do not have nearly as much to deliver at the end of the semester as I would have wanted. Nevertheless, I thought it best to at least provide some context for the work that I was able to accomplish, catalog some of the major challenges that I encountered, and outline some plans for my future in digital humanities.

Context

Included with this post above is the portion of my web map that I have completed so far. My initial aim was to design an interactive tool that could dynamically illustrate Native American movement across the Great Lakes region as the United States seized Indigenous territories through treaty negotiations over the course of the nineteenth century. I began by compiling a corpus of 25 treaties signed between 1795 and 1855. The year 1795 is significant because the Treaty of Greenville adopted that year followed the first major series of negotiations between Native Americans and the fledgling United States government after the American Revolution [1]. Meanwhile, in 1855 Odawa and Ojibwe bands in what is now Michigan signed a remarkable trio of treaties that would ultimately prove some of the region’s last. The web map that I have completed so far plots out the locations of each treaty that I analyzed and provides links to their full text online.

Map of the Great Lakes region

In my project planning document, I suggested that I could illustrate the mobile histories of five Anishinaabe bands to lay the groundwork for an even more advanced future project. For reasons that I will describe in greater detail below, however, the only band (or Indigenous political unit) that has received representation on my web map so far is the Ojibwe band from La Pointe. The La Pointe band sent representatives to negotiations with the United States government in 1826, 1842, 1847, and 1854. These four treaty summits took place in relatively close proximity to La Pointe itself, but secondary sources imply that some members of the La Pointe band did not always identify as such. For example, many authors characterize the war leader Waubojeeg as a member of the La Pointe band, which certainly makes sense considering how his granddaughter received her marriage licence from a Presbyterian mission not far from the aboriginal village there.

Nineteenth-century marriage licence

The marriage of Susan and Ambrose Davenport is recorded in the upper left-hand corner of this record book. Courtesy: Ancestry.com

Nevertheless, when Waubojeeg first appears as a treaty negotiator in 1826 – for a treaty in which his aforementioned granddaughter became eligible to receive segments of a 640-acre tract of land near the St. Mary’s River – he is listed as living near the River de Corbeau (marked on my web map with a red teardrop). He subsequently moves several times over the course of the nineteenth century. Sometimes his home is listed in treaties as Sault Ste. Marie where he had forced one of his daughters to marry a prosperous British fur trader. Waubojeeg was apparently so desperate to forge advantageous kinship connections that when Oshaw-guscody-way-quay, his daughter, threatened to run away from the fur trader, he warned her that he would simply “thrash her and return her to her husband”[2]. Despite his physical strength and occasional penchant for violence, Waubojeeg did not insist on remaining in Sault Ste. Marie in the face of potential expulsion. After the Treaty of Washington (1836) seized almost all of the land in what is now Michigan, Waubojeeg apparently ventured westward [3]. Overall, his life story alone could form a compelling basis for a web mapping project, but technical limitations largely prevented me from conveying such migratory chronicles with understandable visible stimuli.

Challenges

Since I optimistically presented on my digital humanities project a few weeks ago, it seems like almost everything that could have possibly gone awry managed to do just that. First, I attempted to augment my rather basic web map with a JQuery UI slider to ensure that its chronological elements could be easily understood. I considered this a major priority because I imagined that the code would act as scaffolding for my entire data set. Closely following programmer Dennis Wilhelm’s instructions for installing the time slider, though, proved a fruitless endeavor. After doing some investigating, I suspect that I may have identified the reason for my troubles. Below are two samples of code. The top code comes from one of Wilhelm’s examples on GitHub while the bottom code is featured on the JQuery website. There are obvious differences between the two, leading me to posit that Wilhelm’s code is somewhat out of date. Since this is the slider plugin that Leaflet recommends, my many attempts to reconcile disparities between the codes have ended in vain.

Github code

jQuery Code

Beyond the time slider, even simpler mapping components have proven challenging for me to implement. Although I finally found a way to pin different colored markers onto my web map, for example, I have not yet determined how to make these diverse identifiers display images or text. Furthermore, the arrows that I described in my project planning document as pivotal elements for helping to visualize movement across space posed their own obstacles. After having little luck replicating the astounding arrows from the Medieval and Tudor Ships project by studying its website source code, I moved onto what I expected would be less elegant but more straightforward arrows. These polylines, however, proved cumbersome to insert, and they often either obscured large swaths of data or removed them from my web map entirely.

My challenges in building a website, though, were perhaps even more disparaging. Although I consulted several knowledgeable colleagues last week and studied how they launched their own websites on GitHub using free Bootstrap templates, I ran into an issue that none of them have even encountered. No matter what template websites I visit, and no matter how closely I follow what I understand to be proper procedures, each time one of my GitHub websites launches it immediately succumbs to system vulnerabilities. It is for this reason alone that I have chosen to submit my final project in this format.

Github e-mail

Future Plans

Although technical setbacks were frustrating parts of the process, I would still assert that further primary source research would offer the greatest opportunities to bolster my digital humanities project. As previously stated, I based my analysis largely on a close reading of nineteenth-century treaties, but broadening my scholastic horizons to introduce ethnohistorical sources as well as census records to my source base would be my most immediate plan for the future. Such sources would not only allow for a more accurate placement of aboriginal villages, but also aid me in determining how individuals move around when they did not necessarily consider themselves bound to associate with the same bands, the same Indigenous groups, or even the same names.

Even further in the future, I hope to expand my analysis to include nineteenth-century Indigenous women whose identities are largely unrecorded, or at lease unreleased in government documents that have entered the public domain. Fully investigating aboriginal women’s influence in treaty negotiations will likely require seeking out diplomatic transcripts that may be housed in disparate archives. With more easily accessible secondary sources like the Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History, though, a final alteration that I can make to my web map is expanding its chronological limits to compare and contrast how Native Americans moved around the continent before and after the founding of the United States. My final few weeks in HST 812 have been arduous in some ways, but I am ready to move forward in spite of my many setbacks, and I am ready to learn even more.

Notes

[1] Helen Hornbeck Tanner, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), 69.

[2]  See Marjorie Cahn Brazer, Harps Upon the Willows: The Johnston Family of the Old Northwest (Ann Arbor: Historical Society of Michigan, 1993), 49; Nancy M. Peterson, Walking in Two Worlds: Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path (Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2006), 9.

[3] Matthew L.M. Fletcher, The Eagle Returns: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012), 27.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Kappler, Charles J., ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1819.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:185–87. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904a. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26027.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1820.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:187–88. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904b. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26029.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1826.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:268–73. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904c. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26109.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1837.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:482–86. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904d. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26323.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1842.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:542–45. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904e. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26383.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, 1854.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:648–52. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904f. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26489.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, Etc., 1827.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:281–83. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904g. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26122.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa, Etc., 1833.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:402–15. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904h. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26243.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa of Saginaw, Etc., 1855.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:733–35. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904i. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26574/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa of Sault Ste. Marie, 1855.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:732. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904j. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26573/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Chippewa of the Mississippi and Lake Superior, 1847.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:542–45. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904k. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26408.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Menominee, 1836.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:463–66. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904l. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26304/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Ottawa and Chippewa, 1820.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:188–89. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904m. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26030/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Ottawa and Chippewa, 1855.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:725–31. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904n. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26566/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Ottawa, Etc., 1807.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:92–95. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904o. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/25943/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Ottawa, Etc., 1821.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:198–201. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904p. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26040.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Ottawa, Etc., 1836.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:450–56. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904q. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26291/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Potowatomi, 1818.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:168–69. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904r. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26010.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Potowatomi, 1828.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:294–97. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904s. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26135.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Potowatomi, 1832.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:353–56. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904t. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26194/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Sioux, Etc., 1825.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:250–55. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904u. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/26091.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Wyandot, Etc., 1795.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:39–45. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904v. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/25890/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Wyandot, Etc., 1805.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:77–78. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904w. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/25928/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Wyandot, Etc., 1814.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:105–7. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904x. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/25956/rec/1.

———. , ed. “Treaty with the Wyandot, Etc., 1817.” In Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 2:145–55. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904y. http://dc.library.okstate.edu/digital/collection/kapplers/id/25987/rec/1.

Secondary Sources

Bellfy, Phil. “Cross-Border Treaty-Signers: The Anishnaabeg of the Lake Huron Borderlands.” In Lines Drawn upon the Water: First Nations and the Great Lakes Borders and Borderlands, edited by Karl S. Hele. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

Bohaker, Heidi. “‘Nindoodemag’: The Significance of Algonquian Kinship Networks in the Eastern Great Lakes Region, 1600-1701.” William and Mary Quarterly 63, no. 1 (2006): 23–52.

———. “Reading Anishinaabe Identities: Meaning and Metaphor in Nindoodem Pictographs.” Ethnohistory 57, no. 1 (2010): 11–33.

Brazer, Marjorie Cahn. Harps upon the Willows: The Johnston Family of the Old Northwest. Ann Arbor: Historical Society of Michigan, 1993.

Cleland, Charles E. Rites of Conquest: The History and Culture of Michigan’s Native Americans. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992.

———. Faith in Paper: The Ethnohistory and Litigation of Upper Great Lakes Indian Treaties. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Fletcher, Matthew L.M. The Eagle Returns: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012.

“The Great Lakes: An Ojibwe Perspective,” The Decolonial Atlas.  https://decolonialatlas.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-great-lakes-in-ojibwe-v2/

Harjo, Suzan Shown, ed. Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indians Nations. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of the American Indian, 2014.

Hele, Karl S. “The Anishinabeg and Métis in the Sault Ste. Marie Borderlands: Confronting a Line Drawn upon the Water.” In Lines Drawn upon the Water: First Nations and the Great Lakes Borders and Borderlands, edited by Karl S. Hele. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008.

Jurss, Jacob. “Contested Authority: Indigenous Borderlands of the Western Great Lakes.” Ph.D., East Lansing: Michigan State University, 2017.

Lee, Robert. “Louisiana Purchases: The Indian Treaty System in the Missouri River Valley, 1804-1859.” Digital Humanities at Berkeley. http://digitalhumanities.berkeley.edu/projects/louisiana-purchases-indian-treaty-system-missouri-river-valley1804-1859.

Lock, Gary. “Representations of Space and Place in the Humanities.” In The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship, edited by David J. Bodenhamer, John Corrigan, and Trevor M. Harris. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2010.

Loew, Patty. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal. 2nd ed. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2013.

McDonnell, Michael. Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America. New York: Hill and Wang, 2015.

Miller, Cary. Ogimaag: Anishinaabeg Leadership, 1760-1845. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.

Peterson, Nancy M. Walking in Two Worlds: Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path. Caldwell, ID: Caxton Press, 2006.

Prucha, Francis Paul. American Indian Treaties: The History of a Political Anomaly. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Ramirez-Shkwegnaabi, Benjamin. “The Dynamics of American Indian Diplomacy in the Great Lakes Region.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal 27, no. 4 (2003): 53–77.

Saler, Bethel. The Settlers’ Empire: Colonialism and State Formation in America’s Old Northwest. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

Satz, Ronald N. “Chippewa Treaty Rights: The Reserved Rights of Wisconsin’s Chippewa Indians in Historical Perspective.” Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters 79, no. 1 (1991).

Tanner, Helen Hornbeck.  Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987..

Warren, William W. History of the Ojibway People. Edited by Theresa M. Schenck. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2009.

Witgen, Michael. An Infinity of Nations: How the Native New World Shaped Early North America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

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