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On this account, the Jesuits have begun a new mission, opposite Mackinac, called St. Thither have fled the Hurons, driven from Chequamegon Bay by fear of the Sioux, “the Iroquois of the West." The Relations also indicate the tremendous strategic importance of Michilimackinac/Mackinac Island as "the central point for all travel on the upper Great Lakes, and for a vast extent of wilderness and half-settled country beyond" to First Nations and Europeans (prior to the arrival of railroads).
The tribes who had inhabited Mackinac Island had been driven away by the Iroquois, leaving the island practically deserted until 1670.
More than 80 percent of the island is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park.
Like many historic places in the Great Lakes region, Mackinac Island's name derives from a Native American language.
A favorite resort for all the Algonkin tribes, many are returning to it since the peace with the Iroquois.
Much of the island has undergone extensive historical preservation and restoration; as a result, the entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
It is well known for its numerous cultural events; its wide variety of architectural styles, including the Victorian Grand Hotel and its ban on almost all motor vehicles.
The first European likely to have seen Mackinac Island is Jean Nicolet, a French-Canadian coureur des bois, during his 1634 explorations.
The Jesuit priest Claude Dablon founded a mission for the Native Americans on Mackinac Island in 1670, and stayed over the winter of 1670–71.