History. He was a man of power and strength, a man of peace, a man whose word was his bond. He was Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Indian tribe, who lived from 1720 to 1769. Chief Pontiac was rugged, yet charismatic; strong, but gentle; a warrior, as well as a diplomat.
Pontiac, (born c. 1720, on the Maumee River [now in Ohio, U.S.]—died April 20, 1769, near the Mississippi River [at present-day Cahokia, Ill.]), Ottawa Indian chief who became a great intertribal leader when he organized a combined resistance—known as Pontiac’s War (1763–64)—to British power in the Great Lakes area.
The name Pontiac comes from both the city where the car was originally produced and the Ottawa chief who is perhaps best known for his namesake battle, Pontiac’s War. In 1763, Pontiac led a 300-man army against British soldiers who were stationed in Fort Detroit.
He was courageous and commanded respect far beyond his own people. Pontiac was inspired by the words of Neolin, the Delaware prophet, who warned his people “if you allow the English among you, you are dead.
In 1833, the United States forced the Ottawa to give up their few remaining lands in Ohio. In 1837, they were removed to west of the Mississippi River, first to Iowa, then to Kansas. Within five years of moving to Kansas, nearly half of the Ottawa had died.
Completed in 1761, the fort stood throughout the American Revolution. Today, the sites of both Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt can be visited at Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pontiac’s origins date back to the Oakland Motor Car, which was founded in 1907 in Pontiac, Michigan, by Edward Murphy, a horse-drawn carriage manufacturer. In 1909, Oakland became part of General Motors, a conglomerate formed the previous year by another former buggy company executive, William Durant.
A brand of General Motors, Pontiac made vehicles and muscle cars that defined an era, with legendary models such as the GTO and Trans Am. In business since 1926, Pontiac was discontinued in April 2009.
Although the Pontiac brand has seen better days, it’s ready for a revival. No, General Motors is not bringing it back but they have licensed a certain group called the Trans Am Depot to take care of it.
The Pontiac logo from 1926 featured a detailed profile of the Native American man, executed in white with a gold contour, placed on a bright red shield. The nameplate was located above the picture and was executed in a traditional typeface using white capital letters.
MINWEWEH (“the one with the silver tongue,” Menehwehna, Minavavana, Ninãkon), Ojibwa chief, also known as Le Grand Sauteux because of his six-foot height; b. By 1761 he had emerged as a war chief of the Ojibwas on Mackinac Island (Mich.).
He’s buried at Broadway and Walnut, now the Stadium East parking garage. The English called him Pontiac, and Americans branded a car after him.