“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Ignace in Mackinac County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

People and the Great Lakes

People and the Great Lakes Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, August 19, 2019
1. People and the Great Lakes Marker
The Past
10,000 years ago the last Pleistocene glacier retreated across this region, leaving behind the Great Lakes and their drainage basin. The first human inhabitants arrived soon thereafter, living off abundant game, fertile soil and clean water. By 1,600 A.D., the native population of the Great Lakes Basin exceeded 100,000. It was composed of distinct and widely scattered tribes who spoke one of three common languages: Iroquoian, Algonquian or Siouan. Each tribal group gathered seasonally in villages of 100 to 500 people.

In the 1600's European exploitation began, changing forever the native people of the Great Lakes.

The Present
Today, about 37 million people live within the Great Lakes Basin, comprising 10% of the U.S. population and 25% of Canada's. One of the world's largest concentrations of industry generates a level of human activity that has drastically altered the region and its ecosystem.

When the Europeans arrived, vast stands of hardwoods dominated the southern Great Lakes. In the north, dense evergreen forests were interspersed with clean lakes and rivers. Now
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only a few small vestiges of the original forests remain. Toxic air and water pollutants are found even on isolated Isle Royale.

While we exploit our natural resources, we are damaging the capacity of the ecosystem to renew itself, thus destroying life within it - perhaps including ourselves.

The Future
Disruption of the Great Lakes ecosystem will continue in the forseeable future. However, major reductions were made in water pollutants during the 1970's, resulting in cleaner water throughout the lakes. The citizen involvement and government actions that brought those improvements provide hope that acid rain, air pollution, toxic and nuclear waste problems can also be solved. Future generations depend on us to do so!

Wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people alive today, but the property of the unborn generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander.
Theodore Roosevelt - 1915
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentNative AmericansWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #26 Theodore Roosevelt series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1915.
Location. 45° 52.06′ N, 84° 43.333′ W. Marker is in St. Ignace, Michigan, in
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Mackinac County. Marker can be reached from North State Street (Business Interstate 75) west of East Truckey Street, on the right when traveling north. Marker is next to the Huron Boardwalk. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7 North State Street, Saint Ignace MI 49781, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. State Ferry Service (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); William H. Barnum (about 300 feet away); St. Ignace (about 400 feet away); Michigan State Ferry (about 400 feet away); Diving into History (about 500 feet away); Mooring Facilities (about 700 feet away); State Ferries, 1923-1957 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Heritage of Fishermen in this Area (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Ignace.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 145 times since then and 4 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on September 18, 2019, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Feb. 21, 2024