University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Brother Aidan's Extracts


"Six miles north of South Bend in Berrien Co., Michigan is the site of the last of the Indian villages. It was the home for many years of old Chief Pokagon. There is nothing about the spot to indicate that it was ever the place of human habitation.... It is hidden from the highway and not a trace of the old town is left. In 1759 the English drove the French out of the region dissolving all the missions."

-- History of St. Joseph's County, Vol., 2, p. 606: Howard.

90 students -- Brother Joseph, teacher.

(See Finances -- 13)

(See Bishop Hailandiere -- Sorin -- 38)

(See Brothers' school, 1843)

"The Council ordered Brother Joseph from Pokagon to Fort Wayne."

Dec. 4, 1843.

"Brother William will be left at Pokagon for awhile, till we see whether his health will become better or worse."

-- Minor Chapter, May, 1847.

"Brother Dominic will be teacher at Pokagon." Oct. 16, 1848.

"Mr. Baroux will repair thither (to Pokagon) with a wagon once a month, carrying the provisions necessary for that space of time. He will remain there for two consecutive Sundays, and Brother Dominic will profit of the interval between the two Sundays to make his provision of wood, etc."

-- Minor Chapter.

"Brother William will go to Pokagon with Father Granger, for working at the chapel."

-- Local Council. 1847.

Brother Caesarius replaced Brother Joseph. 1852.

"About May 24, Father Baroux returned with one Brother and two Sisters for his mission among the Indians at Pokagon."

-- Sorin Chronicles 1851.

(Pokagon, Michigan, 1830) "... Chief Pokagon of the tribe of Pottawatomies whose central village, named for their chief, was about six miles north of (leagues) Notre Dame, in Berrien County, Michigan."

-- On the King's Highway. p. 102

"In 1844, the savages of the Pottawatomie tribe at Pokagon number 190."

-- Sorin's Chronicles.

"Leopold Pokagon was the civil chief of first rank in the Pottawatomie tribe.... The name 'Pokagon' is really Pugagun and means a rib. When captured, he was wearing a rib from one of his Pottawatomie victims in his war bonnet, in place of the customary eagle feather, to show his contempt for the Pottawatomie in general. Hence the origin of the name given to him by his captors....

"Each important chief had a separate village. That of Pokagon was

located in what is now the southwest part of Bertrand Township, Berrien County, not far from the Old Sauk Trail and about six miles north and west of the present city of South Bend.

"Nothing remains of the village today except a few fragments of the old stone steps which were at the entrance to the log chapel, but viewing the old location one easily realizes the wisdom of the choice....

"The Pokagons were particularly distinguished for their devotion to the traditional teachings of the Jesuit Fathers. They wanted a 'Black-robe' and nothing else would satisfy them.

"The Indians of that region, in general, cherished a decided bias in the same direction. The priests were nearly always French and the Frenchmen have ever evinced, beyond all other nationalities, a peculiar fitness for winning and retaining the good will of the Indians... all the ceremonies of the Catholic Church attracted the Indians. The Bible alone could not suffice for them; for, as they said, that was not made for them; they could not read."

-- "The Pokagons", by Cecilia Bain Buechner;

Indiana Historical Society Publications,, p. 294. 1933

‹— Brother Aidan's Extracts —›