MISCOUAKY (Miskouaky, also miscopied as Misconky, Miscoualzy), minor Ottawa chief at Detroit and then at Michilimackinac; sent to Montreal in 1706 to report on the Ottawa-Miami skirmishes at Detroit; fl. 1700–13.
Miscouaky and Mekaoua arrived at Montreal in June of 1700 as emissaries of the Ottawa elders. They had come to make amends for an Ottawa attack on an Iroquois hunting band. This blow and a Miami attack on the Senecas had violated a truce for negotiations arranged by Governor Callière with the Iroquois. The Ottawa ambassadors pleaded ignorance of the negotiations and promised to surrender ten Iroquois captives from the band which, they said, had encroached on Ottawa hunting territory.
Miscouaky’s second mission to, Montreal in 1706 was infinitely more important. The peace established in 1701 between the Iroquois, the French, and the western tribes was threatened by a feud that broke out among the French Indian allies. A clash between the Ottawas and Miamis brought the threat of intervention by the Iroquois, as a Miami ally, against the Ottawas. This would have destroyed the balance of forces created in 1701, and just when New France was threatened with attack by the English of New York.
The feud, according to Miscouaky and Outoutagan, and to Clairambault d’Aigremont, had several causes. The Miamis had never made reparation for seven Ottawas they had killed. The French authorities at Detroit had not reconciled their allies and, during Cadillac’s [Laumet] absence, the temporary commandant of Detroit, Véniard de Bourgmond, had fatally injured an Ottawa who had struck the officer’s dog. When the Ottawa warriors prepared to set out for war against the Sioux in June of 1706, they heard that the Miamis intended to massacre their women and children three days after their departure. Bourgmond gave the Ottawas no reassurance and merely increased their distrust of the French. Violence erupted when Le Pesant, who was paramount chief of the Ottawas, led his notorious preventive attack on the Miamis. The first victims were eight Miami chiefs encountered by chance. One of these escaped to warn his people, who took shelter in Fort Pontchartrain. There was a mélée beneath the fort’s walls, and a French soldier and the Recollet missionary, Constantin Delhalle, were killed. In the series of raids, ambushes, and counter-attacks which followed, the Miamis were joined by the Hurons. The Ottawas retreated in mid-August to their other village at Michilimackinac, after losing 26 men. There, they received a pledge of support from most of the western tribes allied to the French before sending Miscouaky to Montreal.
In giving his account to Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil in September, Miscouaky dissociated himself and his “brother” Outoutagan from Le Pesant’s initiative in attacking first. Miscouaky claimed to have aided the escape of the Miami chief who survived the original attack, and said that he alone had restrained the young men from shooting fire arrows into the French fort. Vaudreuil, since he had not yet received Cadillac’s report on the affair, temporized. He refused Miscouaky’s gifts, for “the blood of Frenchmen is not to be paid for by beaverskins.” The Ottawas were advised to keep the peace, and the next June Outoutagan himself came to Montreal to hear Vaudreuil’s decision. The death of the two Frenchmen had prevented the governor from acting as a disinterested conciliator of the warring tribes. Vaudreuil had to obtain a public submission by the Ottawas to satisfy his honour and to appease the Miamis and Hurons. In order to retain all the French Indian allies, he rejected Cadillac’s wish for a punitive war and exploited dissension among the Ottawa chiefs. What he demanded and received from the Ottawas in 1707 was the surrender of Le Pesant into French hands.
Miscouaky came on a third mission to Montreal in 1713, accompanied by two other Michilimackinac Ottawas. They requested the replacement of Le Marchand de Lignery and the return of La Porte de Louvigny as commandant at Michilimackinac. They also reported their losses in war against the Fox tribe, and presumably sought French support.
AN, Col., C11A, 18, pp.42–45; 24, pp.25–64, 243–50, 255–56 (copies in PAC). “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1947–48, 229. Michigan Pioneer Coll., XXXIII, 273–74, 282, 288, 294–95, 299–301, 307, 313, 319–20, 323, 329. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 723, 780, 810. Wis. State Hist. Soc. Coll., XVI, 238.