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A Chief, A Legend, A Man: Kawbawgam of Marquette, Michigan   

Charles Kawbawgam (1799-1902), “The Last Chief of the Chippewa,” is now a legend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Growing up at Sault Sainte Marie when the area was still claimed by Great Britain, his first memory was of armed Americans coercing the Ojibwa into ceding their lands to the United States government. He learned early on to walk the fine line that would ensure the white community’s survival and peace for his own people. As an Ojibwa chief, he was recruited to help found the town of Marquette. Over the course of his long life, he witnessed intense industrial growth and development, dramatic social and economic change, and the marginalization of Native American people in northern Michigan. In this class, Tyler Tichelaar narrates Chief Kawbawgam’s story of cross-cultural relationships, survival amidst upheaval, and the importance of community and heritage. 


Tyler Tichelaar is a seventh-generation resident of Marquette, Michigan. He is the award-winning author of 21 fiction and nonfiction books, many of which are Marquette-based. His most recent work is the full-length biography Kawbawgam: The Chief, The Legend, The Man (Marquette Fiction, 2020). Tyler holds a Ph.D. in literature from Western Michigan University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northern Michigan University. He is the former President of the Upper Peninsula Publishers and Authors Association.