By: Chief Pokagon
"Our traditional account of South Haven given us by ki-os-ag (our forefathers) was held as sacred by them as Holy Writ by the white man. Long, long bi-bong (years) ago Ki-ji Man-i-to (the Great Spirit) who held dominion of Mi-shi-gan (Lake Michigan) and the surrounding country, selected Haw-was-naw a place at the o-don (mouth) of Maw-kaw-te (Black River) as his seat of government. His royal throne (Ki-tehi-wik) was located on the highest point of that neck of land lying between Maw-kaw-te River and Lake Michigan. This high point of land was called Ish-pem-inz, meaning a high place.
The tradition above given was handed down to us by a tribe of Au-nish-naw-be-og (Indians) that lived in Michigan before my people, the Pottawattomies. They were called Mash-ko-de (Prairie tribe), on account of their clearing up large tracts of woodland and living somewhat as farmers. They were said to be very peaceful, seldom going on the warpath. We had great reverence for their traditions, as we occupied the land of their principal odena (village) about Black River. We named it Nik-onong, which was derived from two Algonquin words "nik" (sunset) and o-nigis (beautiful).
Nik-a-nong, in its day, was quite a manufacturing town. Large quantities of white birch bark were brought there by canoe loads
and, as it never decays, was buried in the earth for use or trade when called for. Out of this wonderful manifold bark our fathers made canoes, hats, caps, wigwams and dishes for domestic use, and our maidens tied with it the knot that sealed the marriage vow. Sis-si-ba-kwat (maple sugar) was also made and kept in large quantities near this place and sold to southern and western tribes for wampum or in exchange for pi-jis-ki-we-win (buffalo robes)."
Sponsored by John L. Marple