Who were Michigan’s first people? I believe it would be safe to say they existed two or three million years ago from the Prehistoric era. But recorded history lists the first ‘official’ humans to appear in Michigan approximately 14,000 years ago, during the last few thousand years of the Prehistoric Age.

These people were known as Paleo-Indians, who have no written or marked history. According to edhelper.com, some believe “they followed buffalo herds, coming from Asia. They may have crossed the Bering Strait, come through present-day Alaska and then come into what is now known as Michigan.”

Archaeological evidence has shown these people made weapons from chipped stones and used them to kill animals for food. Aside from wild game, the Paleos ate everything else the land had to offer: nuts, berries, herbs, plants, roots, and fish. They were adept at making fire, so yes, they cooked their meat and fish.

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As with many of Michigan’s Indian burial grounds, the Paleos buried their dead with food and assorted items like tools, jewelry, and weaponry.

Ten thousand years go by, and another native group made their way into Michigan territory: the Archaic people. They were similar to the Paleos in many ways, except for residence. While the Paleos were content where they were, the Archaics would live in one place for a few months, then move to another location, leaving a string of Michigan’s first villages in their wake. The Archaics also discovered the uses of copper, making jewelry and tools from the ore. They also buried their dead in the same fashion as the Paleos. Burial mounds still exist throughout Michigan in secluded spots, some not even discovered yet.

And then, in the 1600s, the Europeans came to Michigan.
From then on, it would never be the same.

Michigan Native American Grounds & Artifacts


Abandoned Native American Boarding School & Asylum, Mount Pleasant

When Chief Sitting Bull Visited Michigan, 1885

Hopewell (Norton) Burial Mounds

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