Michel Messier

And the conclusion...


Now, authorities of Varennes held to highlight the name of one of their founders. On August 14, 1961, at the regular meeting of the City Council, it was proposed and adopted to appoint a Michel-Messier street.

I would like to do a reflection from a document on the "uses and customs" of the Iroquois. The original is at the Mazarine Library in Paris. According to Mr. Aurélien Boisvert, a researcher who has studied te document, it was written between 1705 and 1710. On its face, it is obvious that one who reveals this information was a prisoner of this nation. The French who were prisoners and returned are not many. In addition, the author must still be alive in 1705.

He said that he had been adopted by these people and lived in a hut, which, according to custom, was shared by a dozen families. According to Mr. Boisvert, the narrator is a layman. He mentioned that he was often threatened of death by drunken warriors as, indeed, many Indians have been, and sometimes killed. Is Michel the author of the text? If this is the case, someone else wrote the text. Mr. Boisvert does not believe it is Michel but cannot know its author. He bases his claim on the fact that our ancestor was a captive of the Mohawks. As the person is silent on them, it is a raison he does not think that it is Michel. However, when ambassadors of this nation come to Montreal, they said they had given the husband of Anne Lemoyne to the Onondaga.

I mentioned earlier that Michel was captured three times for a total duration of about four years. It is a period long enough to have learned their language and customs. The Great Peace of Montreal, signed in 1701 by many Indian nations, has long been talked about it in the colony. A man like Michel, heavily involved in the Indian Wars has certainly witnessed these events. It is possible that he was among the Iroquois interpreters present a few weeks for this occasion. His presence at the peace talks was noted. Did a person appeal to him to know the "customs and traditions" of this nation? Is it possible that our ancestor was the author? I cannot say beyond a doubt that the document is to give; however, this is another assumption about his life to remember.

Text comes from the volume of Gilles Messier:  Les Messier et leurs ancêtres, 700 ans d'histoire.

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September 10, 2014

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