Show Notes: When A Fox Crosses The Road

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While heading to my ski destination outside Cadillac a fox crossed the road.  Something told me there were myths and legends associated with that type of event, and I discovered far more.

Seeing A Fox In Daylight

Biblical References

The Bible does not mention foxes all that often, but it does it is not favorable.

  • The Song of Solomon 2:15, the verse reads, “Catch for us the Foxes, the little Foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.”
  • Ezekiel 13:4 reads, “O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins.”
Celtic Legends of the Sionnach

In Irish lore not only is the fox considered wise and cunning, it is thought that the word shenanigans stems from sionnachuighim:

The word shenanigan (a deceitful confidence trick, or mischief) is considered by some to be derived from the Irish expression sionnachuighim, meaning ‘I play the Fox’.

In some cases having fox cross your path indicates a transformation will occur, or that you must be prepared to be flexible and adapt.  It also represents an omen for you be vigilant and crafty as times are about to change.  For others seeing a fox cross your path is a validation of your cunning, your resilience and perseverance.

Native American Legends

The fox, šunğíla was also thought of as a medicine animal and had the power to reveal locations of herbs needed by the medicine man. The fox shared expertise on how to swiftly escape enemies. It taught men how to travel through dangerous territory and to understand courage under fire.

Michigan has a long history of native American Indians living in the region.  With names like Manistee, Zilwuakee and Meauwataka are common for counties, towns and cities.  We have covered this rich history in other Sunday Nights Radio episodes such as SNR:  Meauwataka

The Fox Tribe

The Fox Tribe were actually two tribes referred to collectively by the French as “Renard”, French for Fox.  The British named them the Sauk.  They were of Algonquian descent, yer were considered as distinct people by native Michigan Indian tribes.  The Chippewa (Ojibwa) referred to them as the Ozaagii.

Tribes of Michigan include Ottawa, Ojibway, Chippewa, Mascouten, and Potawatomi.  Most of my research resulted in these names which are commonly known today.  The Fox, or as the called themselves the Meskwaki, numbered 10,000 in the mid 1600s and lived east of Michigan in the Great Lakes region.  The Fox were known to other tribes as “the people on the shore”, yet referred to themselves as “people of the yellow earth”.  As with many Indian tribes, alliance were often formed with the French and British to move other tribes off land. Many times tribes would attack and take women and child.  In 1641 the Neutral tribe attacked the Mascouten tribe in central Michigan, taking 800 women and children prisoner.

In many cases the French were conflicts as allies to the Huron Indians:

The Sac and Fox Tribe

The Fox or Meskwaki (“The people of red earth”) are of Algonquin origin from the Eastern Woodland culture areas. Their language is a dialect of the same larger language spoken by the Sauk and Kickapoo. Meskwaki were called “Renards” (The Fox) by the French—the tribe’s first European contact in 1666—but have always identified themselves as “Meskwaki.” The Anishinaabe peoples called the Meskwaki Odagaamii, meaning “people on the other shore,” which the French also adopted as “Outagamie” as a name for the Meskwaki. This name survives today for Outagamie County of Wisconsin.

Conflict with the Huron and the French forced migration from the St Lawrence waterway way and Lake Huron to Saginaw Michigan.  This reduced their numbers to 6,500.  Once the Fox War was initiated by the French in 1701 they were driven west to Wisconsin.

When the French had first contact with them they estimated that the Fox numbered about 6,500. By 1712, they were down to 3,500 when the First Fox War broke out with the French (1712-1714). The Second Fox War of 1728 found the remaining 1,500 Fox reduced to 500, who then found shelter with the Sauk and brought French animosity to that tribe. The First Fox War was purely economic in nature. The French merely wanted rights to use the river system to gain access to the Mississippi. The Second Fox War was almost genocidal because the Fox continually refused to allow traders onto the Fox and Wolf rivers and harassed French settlements along the Mississippi River. French pursuit of the destruction of the Fox tribe was so severe as to damage French relations with other tribes.[1]

Gross Point Michigan

I had no clue about the Fox Wars, and was utterly surprised that Gross Point, a very exclusive suburb of Michigan, was the site of a Fox Indian attack.

In the summer of 1712, a large band of Fox Indians, with some Sauks and Missaukas, arrived from Wisconsin. Probably there were some 100 warriors, but with their families they numbered about 1,000. They had come in belated response to an invitation Cadillac had issued, to make their home near the fort. They ignored the orders of the acting commander to leave their camp, ignored the hostility of the local tribes, and laid siege to the fort.

When the Indians finally were subdued and faced disaster, they fled on a stormy night, encumbered by their families. They were overtaken by the French and their Indian allies on what we call Windmill Pointe.

The Fox were besieged for four days without access to drinking water. Nearly all were taken prisoner or killed. Captives were taken to the fort and suffered lingering deaths, “four or five a day for the satisfaction of the local Indians who had lost relatives in the battle.”



Full Winter Moon

Last night I also traveled home under a full moon.  A full winter moon in Cadillac is an amazing site, many times I have been in northern Michigan with my son on outdoor adventures and have witnessed such a sight after sunset. 

This moon we have in February is known as the Hunger Moon or the Snow Moon.  It indicates we are about to enter the last stretch of winter.  It also represents a time of transition, heightened energy and spiritual enlightenment.  During this period is the time when you intentions become crystalized.

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