Origin and History
The Nipissing people are an Algonquian-speaking group of Native Americans. They initially inhabited a territory around Lake Nipissing at the crossroad between two watersheds: the French River, flowing in the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron; and the Mattawa River, flowing in the Ottawa River. They also controlled the portage between these two watersheds. Due to this strategic location, the Nipissing were involved in trade between various Native American peoples and, later, between the Wyandot People of Lake Huron and the French colonies of the Saint-Laurent Valley.
In 1615, when they first establish contact with the French, the Nipissing people were less than 1,000. They began to trade furs for steel weapons with the French. As soon as 1632, they began to get muskets from the French.
Around 1637, the Nipissing people were decimated by a first smallpox epidemic.
In 1647, during the Beaver Wars, the Nipissing, pressed by the Iroquois Confederacy regrouped around Lake Nipigon, They were still in this region in 1667. However, by 1671, they had returned to Lake Nipissing.
In 1721, the French convinced 250 Nipissing to relocate at the Sulpician mission of Deux-Montagnes (present-day Kanesatake) near Montréal.
By 1756, 200 Nipissing people still lived at the mission of Deux-Montagnes.
The Nipissing people now live in a reserve in Northeastern Ontario.
Role during the War
On July 31, 1755, Nipissing warriors informed the commander of the first division of Béarn Infanterie near Fort Frontenac of the French victory over a British force commanded by Braddock on the Monongahela.
In July 1756, Nipissing warriors joined the Chevalier de Lévis, who was conducting Operations on Lake Champlain. On September 22, a party of Nipissing warriors arrived at Carillon (present-day Ticonderoga).
By July 20, 1757, Nipissing warriors of Lake Nipissing under Chief Kikensick formed part of Langy de Montégron's Brigade during the French expedition against Fort William Henry. On July 22, another party of Nipissing warriors joined the expedition. On August 3, Nipissing warriors took part in an engagement with the crew of two British boats, which were pursuing French missionaries. In this action, they killed or captured several British oarsmen but lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded.
On March 13, 1758, a party of Nipissing warriors took part in the Skirmish of Snow Shoes near Carillon. In mid-May, Chief Kisensik left Montréal for Carillon with 25 Nipissing warriors. That winter, when they returned to their villages, they brought back the disease with them.
We have been unable to find characteristics about the dress of this Native American people that would distinguish them from other peoples. If you can suggest sources documenting such characteristics, please do not hesitate to contact us with your suggestions.
Sulzman, Lee: Nipissing History
Wikipedia – Nipissing First Nation
N.B.: the section Role during the War is mostly derived from our articles depicting the various campaigns, battles and sieges.