Sunday, March 17, 2013
Old Indian Burial Ground, Bay Mills, MI
The cemetery is fenced, and no access is allowed. However, from outside the fence it is possible to see the wooden spirit houses over the graves.
Besides protecting the grave, they held tools and resources that the dead would need to sustain them on their trip to the land of the spirits.
Also at the cemetery, at the base of a large white pine tree, is a sign that reads:
"Among the Indians who moved from Nay Oh Me Kong to what is not 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."
Some searching found little information on Chief John Waishkey, however, his loving daughter, Eliza married Xazvier Labranch and passed at age 70. They are buried at the Bayview Cemetery.
I hope you will take time to visit this small and serene spot, and think of this place as it was in 1841, when Eliza planted that tree.