This presentation and discussion will provide an overview of significant events in the history of Fort Ouiatenon, a summary of what has been learned about the fort through archaeology at the site, as well as an opportunity to view a sample of the artifacts recovered from the site. Presented by Joseph D. Bartlett, Independent Investigator and Avocational Archaeologist
In 1700, the French founded Detroit on the river that bears that name at a place referred to by Native People as Ouyatenong. By then, a sub group of the Miamis, called the Ouiatenons, were located four miles or so west of present day Greater Lafayette on the south banks of the Wabash, adjacent to the Wea Plains. In the early 18th century, the French government of Canada authorized the construction of three forts along the Maumee/ Wabash trade route to protect France’s valuable fur trade economy from Colonial English encroachment from the east. Fort Ouiatenon was one of these three forts, and was located on the north banks of the Wabash opposite the large Indian town called Ouiatenon.
Through the use of contemporary eyewitness descriptions and field investigations, the site of the Ouiatenon Indian town and Fort Ouiatenon were tentatively located in 1966. Subsequent continual archaeological investigations at the site have established the location of the stockade fort as well as other contemporary habitation outside the protection of the stockade.