September 15, 1679: du Lhut brings temporary peace to native tribes

On this day in what would become Duluth in 1679, Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut gathered leaders of Ojibwe, Cree, and Assiniboin peoples at Fond du Lac to meet with Dakota representatives and established a peace among the tribes by encouraging feasting between the tribes. (The Dakota had long fought with all three other tribes.) The gathering was no small logistical task in those days. In the end the Dakota promised to befriend the other tribes as well as the French, and the Ojibwe, Assiniboin, and Cree agreed to facilitate trade between the French and the Dakota. Here is how du Lhut himself described the event: “On September 15, having arranged for the Assiniboins as well as all the other nations of the north to meet at the head of Lake Superior in order to make peace with the Dakotas, their common enemy, they all did come, and I had the good fortune of gaining their esteem and friendship; and, so that peace among them would last longer, I thought I could not cement it better than by arranging the reciprocal marriages between nations, which I could not accomplish without much expense. The following winter, I had them get together in the woods, where I was staying, so they could hunt and feast together, and thus establish closer bonds of friendship.” Within three years the Ojibwe and Dakota were conducting trades as far as 150 miles from Lake Superior’s shores. But the peace du Lhut established would not last. Ojibwe conflicts with the Dakota beginning in 1736 lasted beyond the French and Indian War, which officially ended in 1763. Read more about du Lhut’s life here.

Clarence Rosenkranz’s depiction of Daniel Greysolon Sieur du Lhut landing at Onigamiinsing (“Little Portage”) on Minnesota Point in 1679, which originally hung on the Greysolon Tea Rooms of Duluth’s Glass Block Store. (Image: Duluth Public Library)