HISTORIC MICHIGAN: Old 1841 Indian Burial Ground in Bay Mills
Here's an awesome piece of Michigan history to check out. Head straight over the Mackinac Bridge toward Sault Ste. Marie to the town of Bay Mills. This old 1841 Indian Burial Ground is not in the woodsy countryside as you might think - it's located just north of Bay Mills & Mission along W. Lakeshore Drive, between two bodies of water: the Lake Superior shoreline and South Pond.
The cemetery seems to not be accessible to the public, but you can still park and walk along the fence to see the spirit houses that were placed over the graves. These wooden huts contain items that were meaningful to the deceased, whether it was a weapon, utensil, bit of clothing, etc. They were placed within the huts so the dead could take their favorite belongings into the next world with them.
Inside the cemetery at the base of a large white pine tree, is the following sign:
"Among the Indians who moved from Nay Oh Me Kong to what is now the Indian mission at Bay Mills was a little girl of fifteen named Eliza Waishkey, nee Eliza Labranch. It was Eliza who selected the tree, then only a twig, and planted it at the head of her father's grave, who was Chief John Waishkey of the Waishkey band of Chippewa Indians. The tree, a white pine, was planted about the year 1841."
This burial ground is right alongside the road, making it a perfect roadside stop on your Michigan roadtrip. Take a look at the photos below to see what's inside and where to visit!
Some people feel it's not right to use a sacred burial ground as a kind of "tourist attraction" - however, the town accepts it as such and asks you to be respectful when you visit. Obey any 'no trespassing' signs that may be around.