He was a man of power and strength, a man of peace, a man whose word was his bond. He was Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Indian tribe, who lived from 1720 to 1769. Chief Pontiac was rugged, yet charismatic; strong, but gentle; a warrior, as well as a diplomat.
It was Pontiac who united, for the first time, all the tribes between the Mississippi River, Florida and Canada for a common cause; to resist the men who were advancing on the Native Americans’ hunting grounds. Chief Pontiac led his people into battles with the British who were fighting the French to control Canada and Northeastern and Mideastern America. Although the battles were lost, Chief Pontiac’s courage became legendary.
Today Michigan’s Pontiac shares its name with cities in six other states; Ohio, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New York, and Rhode Island. A lake in Oakland County is named for Pontiac. So are a municipality and county in the province in Quebec, Canada. One of the world’s most popular automobile nameplates also bears the name Pontiac. A print of an original oil painting of Chief Pontiac, by Academy of Arts painter Jerry Farnsworth, is on display in the lobby of Pontiac City Hall.