New book explores Native Americans in West Michigan

Tribune Staff • Sep 19, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Name of book: “Footprints — Stories of Native Americans in West Central Michigan”

Author: Wallace K. Ewing

Literary genre: Local history

Available at: The Bookman

Synopsis of the book: The Indians whose presence shaped the history of West Central Michigan typically are marginally represented in books and articles about the past. My 554-page book titled “Footprints” attempts to correct that omission by telling the stories of individual Native Americans who once walked the Grand River Valley, Lake Michigan’s wooded dunes and the land between. Included are the chiefs, their tribal members, those who claimed both Native American and European descent, and a few of the whites who played critical roles, for better or worse, as they interacted with Indians in the early years of settlement. The story begins when the French dominated the area, and continues through the decades of British and American governance in the 18th and 19th centuries and into the 20th. Much of today’s knowledge about Indians during the early periods is based on legend and memory, but by the early- to mid-19th century, their lives are revealed in more detail through newspaper and magazine articles, books, censuses and vital statistics. These sources enable us to follow the footprints of those who long ago made their homes here. Included is a biographical directory of the people cited in the book’s seven chapters, eight water color illustrations, photographs and maps.

Why did you write the book? I am dedicated to recording local history, including the contribution made of minority groups.

Author's thoughts about the book: I learn from every book I write, but more than ever when researching and recording the history of the Ottawa, Potawatomi and Ojibwa tribes who originated in West Central Michigan.

About the author: Wallace K. Ewing earned his bachelor and master degrees from Michigan State University and his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois. He was appointed to a Fulbright Lectureship at the University of Tehran in Iran, taught Peace Corps volunteers in West Africa, and trained master degree candidates in Puerto Rico to teach English in the public schools. After serving as provost of Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, he returned to his hometown of Grand Haven. Ewing spent 2006-07 at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in Dalian, China, teaching English writing and American literature. Since his return to Grand Haven, Ewing has continued to research and write about local history and genealogy. He is the author of more than a dozen books.

Editor’s note: If you have recently written a book and would like to share the information with our readers, contact [email protected], or call 616-842-6400, ext. 232.


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