This website is not publicly available, and access will only be provided to those individuals whose government has designated them to represent their Tribe in this NAGPRA consultation process. Please click on the Help and FAQs links for information on setting up a user account and how to navigate through the website. The website provides users with opportunities to request additional information identified in an item’s record. It also provides opportunities to comment on items. 

The Marquette Mission Site Collection portion of the website is still under development. But the other three collections have been fully documented in the website.


This website contains images and database records for four collections. Three of the collections are under the control of the City of St. Ignace and one is under the control of the Michilimackinac Historical Society. The City of St. Ignace has legal control of and NAGPRA implementation responsibility for the Fort de Buade Museum Collection, Museum of Ojibwa Culture Collection, and the Marquette Mission Site Collection. The Michilimackinac Historical Society has legal control of and NAGPRA responsibility for its Collection.

The City of St. Ignace operates the Museum of Ojibwa Culture and the Marquette Mission Park on which the Marquette Mission Site (20MK82) is primarily located. The Michilimackinac Historical Society operates the Fort de Buade Museum, but the City has legal control of the Fort de Buade Museum collection.

Fort De Buade Museum Collection
Dr. Donald “Doc” Benson, who died at 80 on May 27, 2005, assembled a collection, which includes approximately 1000 Native American cultural items, and founded the Fort de Buade Museum in St. Ignace, Michigan. Dr. Benson was an orthodontist who also founded Might Mac Broadcasting. The City of St. Ignace purchased the collection from Dr. Benson’s widow with 2% gaming funds provided by the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. (The City has control of and NAGPRA responsibility for this collection.)
Dr. Benson collecting focus was items related to woodland cultures from the immediate area, but he also collected from other locations in the United States and Canada. According to Mrs. Benson, she and Dr. Benson traveled extensively and collected wherever they went. They frequented garage sales and antique markets and may have acquired items from old Fort Algonquin, a 1930s era museum located in St. Ignace.
Museum of Ojibwa Culture Collection
This collection of 160 items was cataloged in 2020 during implementation of a NAGPRA Consultation/ Documentation grant awarded to the City of St. Ignace. This collection is comprised of Native American cultural items, which appear to have been found or were made in locally with a couple of exceptions. One item is from the Northwest Coast or Southeast Alaska, and another is identified as Lakota. (The City has control of and NAGPRA responsibility for this collection.)
Marquette Mission Site and the Collection
The Marquette Mission Site (20MK82) is located in St. Ignace, Michigan. St. Ignace is the second oldest city founded by Europeans in Michigan. Prior to French contact, Native Americans inhabited the area for thousands of years. Historically, Iroquoian-speaking Wendat, whom the French called the Huron, were the primary occupants. By the 18th century, the Anishinaabek Ojibwa, who spoke one of the Algonquian languages, became prominent in the region. The Anishinaabek Odawa were also present. Also, Iroquois speakers from the east are known to have made incursions, especially in the summer months.
French explorer and priest Jacques Marquette founded the St. Ignace Mission in 1671 at the Wendat village. He named the mission for St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit religious order, whose priests were active as missionaries across North America. Jesuits served at missions to convert First Nations/Native Americans to Catholicism and to share French culture. In 1673, Father Marquette joined the expedition of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer and departed from St. Ignace on May 17 with two canoes and five voyageurs of French Indian ancestry (Me’tis) to explore the Mississippi River.
While exploring the region on the ship Le Griffon with Louis Hennepin, Sieur de La Salle reached St. Ignace on August 27, 1679. In 1681, Louis de La Porte and Sieur de Louvigny founded Fort de Buade, in St. Ignace, as a fur trading post. It closed in 1697. The Jesuits abandoned the mission in 1705.
Among Native Americans, the Ojibwa, who came to dominate most of the territory of present-day Michigan in the 18th century, were allies of the French in the Seven Years’ War against the British. After the English victory in the Seven Year’s War, in 1763 the English took over the territory of France in North America, including this part of the former New France. After the American Revolutionary War, in 1783 the village was included within the new United States, as part of what became the Northwest Territory.
The sizable collection resulted primarily from archaeological excavations conducted between 1971 and 2001. Other types of ground-disturbing activity such, as landscaping, also resulted in acquisition. Other than the few items housed at the Museum of Ojibwa culture, the items collected from the site are housed at Michigan State University. (The City has control of and NAGPRA responsibility for this collection.)
Michilimackinac Historical Society Collection
The Michilimackinac Historical Society was reactivated in 2004 after a 23-year hiatus. Prior to their disbanding in 1981 and after reactivating, MHS has built its collection through donations. The collection is comprised of a variety of items related to St. Ignace and Straits area, it also includes Native American cultural items. (The Michilimackinac Historical Society has control of and NAGPRA responsibility for this collection.)