Celebrating Native American Heritage

(l-r) Deisha Myles, Renard Myles, Aliama Beltran and Karen Schaumann-BeltranSeveral months ago, staff working with the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission approached Washtenaw County Parks to partner on a project honoring Native American trails and sites in the County. Since there are several County parks and preserves located within one mile of a significant Indian trail or site, it was logical that both departments collaborate to honor Native American heritage.

The project was conceived by Historic District Commissioner Jasper Pennington, who was inspired by a map generated by University of Michigan professor W. B. Hinsdale in the 1920s. Hinsdale compiled one of the most comprehensive surveys of Native American trails and sites in Michigan at the time. Through his research, he created a vibrant picture of Native American life around the state before European settlement. Hinsdales map features Indian trails, villages and burial grounds in the County.

Diligent research for the signs was conducted at the Bentley Historical Library on the U of M campus. Additional information was gathered from archaeological surveys, oral histories and various other sources. To learn more about early Native American presence in Washtenaw County, please check-out Hinsdales book The Indians of Washtenaw County, Michigan. Hinsdales map is also available online through the Ann Arbor District Library.

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