KISENSIK, chief of the Nipissings of the Lac des Deux-Montagnes (Que.); fl. 1756–58.
The father of Kisensik, whose name is unknown, was apparently a celebrated Indian, having been to France and to the court, where Louis XIV personally presented him with an inscribed silver gorget.
Kisensik fought the English on several occasions during the early part of the Seven Years’ War. He was the leader of an advance guard of Indians on Montcalm’s successful expedition against Chouaguen (Oswego) in August 1756. Early in July the following year he spoke for the Nipissings at a conference and war feast held when Montcalm visited the Indian settlement at Lac des Deux-Montagnes to rally support for an attack on Fort William Henry (also called Fort George; now Lake George, N.Y.). He asked Montcalm for permission to give advice on the war when the occasion offered and he informed the French general of his tribe’s requests and the number of warriors it could furnish.
Both Kisensik and his son took part in the expedition, which left Montreal about 12 July. A great many Indian nations were represented in the force and shortly before the attack on the fort an assembly was held to unite them in the common cause. Kisensik spoke, saying to the Indians of the pays d’en haut, “We domiciliated Indians thank you for having come to help us defend our lands against the English who wish to usurp them.” Of Montcalm he said, “It is not his cause he has come to defend, it is the great King who has said to him: ‘Go, cross the great ocean and go to defend my children.’ He will reunite you my brothers, and bind you with the most solemn of ties.”
In May 1758 Kisensik set out again for the Lake Champlain frontier, determined “to redden with English blood the ashes of his father,” who had died the previous autumn, and to prove himself worthy of wearing the silver gorget. Near the end of the month he and his war party encountered a force of English and Indians on the Rivière du Chicot (Wood Creek) south of Lake Champlain and took four scalps and nine prisoners whom they brought back to Montreal.
There is no further mention of Kisensik in Bougainville*’s journals, our only source of information on this Nipissing chief. Bougainville called him “famous” and referred to him as “a rare bird in the world” for his willingness to sacrifice his personal interests in the larger cause.