Figure 32. Methodist Church as it Appeared ca. 1915. Reprinted from “Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: A People in Progress,” by J. Rodwan & V. Anewishki, 2009, p. 30.

Annuity payments to the NHBP resumed in the mid to late 1840’s. It was in that same period that the Pine Creek settlement experienced the start of Methodist missionary activity. The subsequent founding of a church at Pine Creek would do much to shape the settlement for the next century.

The goal of the Methodist missionaries was not to replace their religious system with Christianity; the Nottawaseppi Hurons were already Catholic prior to their conversion to Methodism. The Methodist missionaries to Michigan Native Americans also did not come into an intact social and values system and abolish it. They came into a culture which, as present-day descriptions illustrate, had already been severely disrupted by generations of contact with European traders, soldiers, and settlers as well as the continuing series of land cessions to the U.S. Government (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 295). Many of the traditional ways had already been pointedly altered, were known by fewer persons, or had ceased to be practiced. The Methodists were attempting to replace a greatly changed philosophy with a new one. In the process, they provided the Pine Creek settlement with a church that also served as a social center and school, while also providing a level of bilingualism to the Tribe. This new versatility enabled the NHBP to maintain the Potawatomi language within the community for many years while functioning well enough in English to conduct business in relation to the outside world (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 295).

The following quote from the 1847 Methodist Mission Report showed that the Pine Creek settlement was thriving:

The Nottawa Indian Mission had six log dwelling houses, one log school house, and a newly built frame barn. The Indians owned 120 acres where they resided and 80 acres of sugar land (maple sugar trees) about four miles away. They had a good crop of corn and potatoes and had several acres of wheat, but hunting was needed to survive. Of the 60 in the band, 32 were adults and 28 were children; thirty were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church and all resided at Potawatomi village  (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 298).

 

References:

Rodwan, J., & Anewishki, V. (2009). Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: A People in Progress. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Environmental Department.

Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc. (1995). United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research. https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf