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To be used in classrooms prior to the presentation of our Michigan's Heritage assembly

Dear Teacher:   

Please feel free to adapt and utilize this study guide as you wish.  You might ask your students some of the following questions to introduce them to our material before the assembly, or you might wish to use them as a review following the performance. 

Our Michigan Heritage recording features most of the music for this assembly, and the liner notes are an additional information resource regarding Michigan's history.

A general description of this assembly/concert is available.

You and your students may wish to go to our web site (
to learn more about the Collecting Consort. 

We also welcome email communication at from you and your students.   

If you have suggestions for improving the effectiveness of this guide as a resource for you and your students, we would appreciate hearing from you.

The following are general questions about the concepts of the program.

1.     What does “heritage” mean and why is it important?

2.     Why do we study history?

3.     What countries did your ancestors come from and why and when did they come to Michigan?

4.     What ethnic groups settled in your community and why?

5.     What are “the arts” (music, dance, drama, writing, painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.) and why are they important?

6.     How are the arts used to record history?

7.     Do you have family members who participate in the arts?



Who were the Native Americans and from where did they come?

Michigan's first residents were the Native Americans. They came across the land bridge from Asia and eventually came to Michigan.  They followed the retreating glaciers looking for the mastodons and mammoths. They liked Michigan because of the waterways and the abundance of food.


Who were the first explorers and settlers of Michigan?

The Frenchmen came looking for a waterway to the Far East. They found the beaver and the Native Americans instead. They introduced alcohol and disease to the Indians.


Why did the English go to war with the French?

The French controlled the St. Lawrence, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers. The English had settled along the Atlantic states and were concerned about the French surrounding them and controlling the fur trade. The English, with the Indians, went to war against the French taking control of all the French land. 

How did the American Revolution affect Michigan?

The colonies resented British control and started the Revolutionary War. While the British lost the war, they refused to give up their forts that controlled the Great Lakes. Finally, during the Battle of Lake Erie, the United States defeated the British fleet and gained control of the Great Lakes.

What happened between Michigan’s first settlers and the Native Americans?

Most of the Native Americans wanted to trust the White Man. But the White Man took his land away, and the Native Americans began to fight back for their survival. The White Man countered by sending armies to kill the Native Americans.

Who was Henry Longfellow and why was he important to the heritage of Michigan and the Native Americans?

Henry Longfellow wrote The Song of Hiawatha. It became a best seller and described the true way of life of the Native American and their spirituality.

What was the Erie Canal and why was it important to Michigan?

In the early 1800's it was difficult to get to Michigan because there were no roads. The State of New York decided to dig the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo. They employed the Irish to dig the canal and many died because of the bad conditions and disease. The canal made it easier to settle Michigan.

Why was the discovery of iron ore in the Upper Peninsula important?

William Austin Bert was surveying the Upper Peninsula and discovered iron ore when his compass did not work right. People from Finland, the British Isles and Germany were brought here to mine the ore.  It gave these people new opportunities and added to the economic resources of Michigan. 

Where did most of the Germans settle and why?

The Germans were attracted to Michigan's river bottoms because of the rich soil for their farms.

Who was Sojourner Truth?

Sojouner was a slave who was freed. She lived in Michigan and helped with the Underground Railroad. She also gave speeches and raised money to help the slaves gain their freedom.  

Who was Henry Ford and why was he important to Michigan?

He built one of the first cars and set up the first assembly line so that cars could be built more cheaply. He also paid $5 per day (excellent pay at that time), and people from all over the world came to make Michigan the Car Capital of the world.  

What is Michigan’s future and how can each of us help it to grow?

Today, our state has troubles because we have not taken care of it. However, if we change the way we care for our state, it can last forever. We have wonderful resources. All four seasons have things to offer tourists. Our peninsula is unique in the way the water protects us in the summer and winter. It allows us to grow crops in an environment protected from the weather. We also have many fine people and educational institutions that help us to compete with the rest of the world.

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contact us at: 

Anne & Gary Wakenhut

Box 272
Lakeview, MI 48850