Mission Creek Indian Cemetery – Mount Pleasant, Michigan - Atlas Obscura
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Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Mission Creek Indian Cemetery

The final resting place of a prominent Chippewa chief and several American-Indian children who died at the boarding school nearby.  

This peaceful American Indian cemetery, abutting Mission Creek, contains only a few headstones or grave markers. The most well-known person laid to rest here is Chief Shaw-Shaw-Waw-Nay-Beece, also known as “the Swallow.”

Chief Shaw-Shaw-Waw-Nay-Beece was instrumental in securing six townships (about 216 square miles) of land in and around Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, as the permanent home for his Ojibwe (or Chippewa) people, as part of the 1855 Treaty signed in Detroit.  

In addition to the chief, an unknown number of Native American children who attended the nearby Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial School are buried here. The boarding school’s policies compelled the kindergarten through eighth-grade students to surrender all aspects of their social and cultural heritage. Over its 41-year history, at least 174 Native American children died while attending the school.

A state historical marker was erected to commemorate the site in 1987. 

Know Before You Go

There is is a small driveway off of Bamber Road to park cars. Please be respectful of this solemn site and those who are laid to rest here.

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