KINONGÉ (Kenougé, “The Pike,” in French “Le Brochet”), a chief of the Ottawas du Sable who spent most of his life at Michilimackinac, an ally of the French; fl. 1660–1713.
The first mention of Kinongé is in 1660, when Father René Ménard* stayed with his family at Kiaonan (now Keweenaw) Bay for the winter. The missionary reproached him with keeping four or five wives, a practice which was often a mark of ability and distinction among the tribes of the Great Lakes. Probably as a result of this dispute, Kinongé “treated the poor Father very badly, and finally forced him to leave and make himself a hut out of fir-branches.”
In 1679 Daniel Greysolon Dulhut reported that the Ottawas, led by Kinongé, had plundered Cree fur convoys on Lake Superior the year before, and he feared that the Crees would be driven to trade with the English at Hudson Bay. The Crees threatened revenge, however, and Kinongé decided to trade near the Illinois country.
By the early 1680s he was one of the most influential French allies in the region of the upper lakes. When two French traders were killed by Indians at Kiaonan Bay in 1683, Dulhut used Kinongé’s cabin at Michilimackinac for their trial. The executions which followed surprised and shocked the Indians, but Dulhut gave a feast in the cabin the next day to ease Kinongé’s “sickness of heart” that sentence had been passed there. A decade later, in 1695, the chief appeared at Montreal at a conference called for the upper lakes Indians. Buade* de Frontenac hoped to make peace between the Ottawas and the Sioux, as warfare between them interfered with the fur trade. He asked that they direct their energies against the Iroquois, promising them troops, arms, and provisions. This offer pleased Kinongé, who replied: “all our young men are gone on the war path, and they will be very glad to find on their return wherewithal to continue.”
Kinongé figured in the Le Pesant affair of 1706. The Michilimackinac Ottawas did not join in the attack at Detroit, and in August 1706 Kinongé and others carried this message to Governor Rigaud de Vaudreuil. Vaudreuil acknowledged that the Michilimackinac Ottawas were innocent and praised the loyalty of Kinongé, but insisted on revenge against Le Pesant. In August 1706 Vaudreuil refused the Iroquois permission to attack Michilimackinac, stating that those Ottawas were innocent of any intrigue. He again mentioned the loyalty of Kinongé.
In June 1707 the governor ordered the Ottawa chiefs to Montreal to explain the affair further. He praised Kinongé, who was present, but was cool towards Outoutagan and the others. The chiefs, fearing Le Pesant’s power, claimed they would have difficulty in apprehending him. Vaudreuil replied that he would instruct Cadillac [Laumet] to pardon all the Ottawas except Le Pesant, and he insisted on Le Pesant’s death. The loyal Kinongé was to deliver this message to Cadillac in Detroit.
At Detroit, in August, Cadillac told the Ottawa chiefs including Kinongé and Koutaoiliboe that he would have nothing to do with them until the culprit was delivered. The other chiefs put pressure on Kinongé, because he and Le Pesant were of the same clan. It was decided to send Jean-Paul Legardeur de Saint-Pierre and the Ottawa chiefs to Michilimackinac to apprehend Le Pesant and return him to Detroit. This was done, but Cadillac apparently allowed him to escape later. Throughout this affair the role of Kinongé was crucial. He was a key messenger between Michilimackinac, Montreal, and Detroit; it is doubtful that Le Pesant would have been so easily apprehended without his help.
Kinongé was mentioned in June 1708, when Father Joseph-Jacques Marest wrote to Vaudreuil from Michilimackinac, condemning Cadillac for trying to entice the remaining Ottawas to Detroit. Marest pointed out that Kinongé opposed this move. In 1713, Kinongé (called a Kiskalcon chief by Vaudreuil) was one of the Michilimackinac Indians who came to Vaudreuil and asked him to send La Porte de Louvigny to assist them in a venture against the Foxes.
AN, Col., C11A, 6, ff.222–53, 372ff.; 26, ff.75, 106ff., 138; 28, ff.165ff. “Capital punishment in Michigan, 1683: Duluth at Michilimackinac,” Michigan History (Lansing), L (1966), 349–60. “Correspondance de Vaudreuil,” APQ Rapport, 1939-40, 380–84, 387–405 1947-48, 229. Découvertes et établissements des Français (Margry), English MS translation, VI, 49–57, 60ff. JR (Thwaites), XLVIII, 117. Michigan Pioneer Coll., XXXIII. NYCD (O’Callaghan and Fernow), IX, 594–632, 779–81. Sheldon, Early history of Michigan.