Michigan's Company K : Anishinaabe Soldiers, Citizenship, and the Civil War

SKU: 9781611864632

Michelle K. Cassidy
Grade Levels:
Adult Education, College, University
Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, Odawa, and Boodewaadamii
Book Type:
Michigan State University Press
Copyright Date:

Sale price$62.95


As much as the Civil War was a battle over the survival of the United States, for the men of Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters, it was also one battle in a longer struggle for the survival of Anishinaabewaki, the homelands of the Anishinaabeg—Ojibwe, Odawa, and Boodewaadamii peoples. The men who served in what was often called ‘the Indian Company’ chose to enlist in the Union army to contribute to their peoples’ ongoing struggle with the state and federal governments over status, rights, resources, and land in the Great Lakes. This meticulously researched history begins in 1763 with Pontiac’s War, a key moment in Anishinaabe history. It then explores the multiple strategies the Anishinaabeg deployed to remain in Michigan despite federal pressure to leave. Anishinaabe men claimed the rights and responsibilities associated with male citizenship—voting, owning land, and serving in the army—while actively preserving their status as ‘Indians’ and Anishinaabe peoples. Indigenous expectations of the federal government, as well as religious and social networks, shaped individuals’ decisions to join the U.S. military. The stories of Company K men also broaden our understanding of the complex experiences of Civil War soldiers. In their fight against removal, dispossession, political marginalization, and loss of resources in the Great Lakes, the Anishinaabeg participated in state and national debates over citizenship, allegiance, military service, and the government’s responsibilities to veterans and their families.

Michelle K. Cassidy is assistant professor of history at Central Michigan University where she teaches courses in Indigenous history and the Civil War. She has held fellowships at the American Philosophical Society, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan.

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