Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
231.242.1400 / 1.866.652.5822

A Tribal History Of The Little Traverse Bay Bands Of Odawa Indians

On Sept. 21, 1994, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) was federally reaffirmed with the signing of Public Law 103-324. The Tribe is governed by a nine member Tribal Council who serve staggered terms. The Tribe has over 4,000 members with a large number living within Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians presently employs over 100 full and part-time employees. The historically delineated reservation area, located in the north-western part of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, encompasses approximately 336 square miles of land within the two counties. The largest communities within the reservation boundaries are Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Charlevoix. 

Our Land and Culture Book

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians or Ottawa people have been in this geographical area of Michigan long before the Europeans arrived here on Turtle Island, known as Canada, North and South America. The Odawa were a migratory people, traveling from the Upper Peninsula and the northern area tip of Michigan in the fall, to the southern part of Michigan, where the climate was more hospitable during the winter months. 

In the spring, the Odawa people returned to their homelands to collect maple syrup, fish and plant crops. When they weren't tending their gardens or doing their day-to-day chores, they gathered fruits, herbs, medicines, as well as any other food products they could dry and put away to be used during the long winter months. 

After the Europeans came and settled in what is known as Escanaba, NocBay, Mackinac, Cross Village, Good Hart, Middle Village, Harbor Springs, Petoskey and the Bay Shore Area, the Odawa ceased to migrate to the southern areas of the state. This was due to the new immigrants or early settlers, who brought with them new food staples and work, which the tribal people took advantage of. Permanent housing, schools and churches were then established and the Native people went to work for the settlers or began their own businesses to make their living. 

After the 1836 and 1855 Treaties were signed, the benefits the U.S. Government promised the Tribes, did not materialize. The Ottawa's from this area began to organize to sue the US Government to try and recover monies agreed upon from the government. 

There were three (3) main groups who worked together to unite the Ottawa people politically, to make the US Government aware of their treaty agreements. They were: the Michigan Indian Defense Association of 1933, The Michigan Indian Foundation 1947 and the Northern Michigan Ottawa Association in 1948. The Northern Michigan Ottawa Association was the "Parent" to all of the Federally recognized tribes because they were an organization. 

The Little Traverse Bay Bands was originally known at the NMOA, Unit 1. Unit 1 began to file for Ottawa fishing rights (1980's) in the Federal courts. The Federal Courts would not recognize NMOA Unit 1, because they were an organization. 

The tribe reorganized and took the name Little Traverse Bay Bands (Nov. 29, 1982). Again the Federal Court would not allow the tribe their rights, this time because they were not a Federally recognized tribe. The Little Traverse Bay Bands did not want to be Federally recognized under the Bureau of Indian Affairs, instead, they went for Reaffirmation by the Federal Government because of the treaties. On Sep. 21, 1994, President Clinton signed the bill that gave the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Federal recognition through Reaffirmation. 

* History and Timeline courtesy of: LTBB Archives/Records Department.

LTBB Time Line
In the beginning there was the Anishnabek. The Origin story. How we became the Odawa. The Odawa along with the Ojibwa and Potawatomi formed an alliance and became known as the Three Fires.
The Iroquois Wars that drove the Odawa from Manitoulin Island and almost annihilated them.
The Odawa trade and prospers from the fur trade.
Treaty. Odawa and other tribes make peace with the Iroquois.
Waganawkezee (It is Bent) refers to the area around Middle Village where an old pine tree that leaned out over the bluff and was used as a landmark for the village. The French and the British referred to it as L'arbre Croche, or Crooked Tree, to the entire coast line between Mackinac and the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay.
The Odawa engage in a working relationship with the French in the fur trade.
Revolutionary War.
Politics closes the chapel the Odawa built which was used by Father Pierre DuJaunay at Middle Village.
War of 1812. The British relinquish claim to the present United States.
The Odawa Petition for a missionary to live at Waganawkezee.
The Odawa Petition again for a missionary to live at Waganawkezee.
23 of August, Father Peter De Jean, missionaries and Odawas help build and establish the Holy Childhood of Jesus Boarding School in Harbor Springs.
Andrew Jackson if President. The "Removal Policy" is adopted, which would remove all Eastern Indian tribes to the West of the Mississippi River.
Winter. The Waganakwezee and the Grand River Odawa meet with government officials in Washington to make a new treaty. This treaty, Treaty of Washington, was signed in the Spring.
Greensky Hill Church is established by Peter Greensky and built by the Odawas.
Some Odawa from Harbor Springs, Burt Lake and Cross Village flee to Manitoulin Island with Assiginac to live, to avoid being relocated. Led by Assignac (Black Bird) who later became Catholic and was given the name Jean Baptise.
Michigan's new constitution grants full citizenship to "Civilized" Odawa.
The Treaty of Detroit. This treaty ended the threat of removal for the Odawa.
Land is opened up for settlement in Emmet County Michigan. The Odawa lose control of their homeland.
School Sisters of Notre Dame arrive to work at Holy Childhood School.
During this time, the Odawa had been meeting and continuously raising funds for sending people to Washington. The Odawa bought property, paid taxes and held public offices.
Andrew J. Blackbird publishes one of two books: History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan.
Simon Kishigobenese, Miskogen and John Kewageshick go to Washington and discover that the 1885 Treaty obligated the Federal Government to pay the Odawa $538,400.
Waganawkezee Odawa sued the Federal Government in the US Court of Claims. Petoskey, Abraham, Kewakendo et al., vs. the US #27,978 and won a cash settlement of $131,000 to be divided among all parties to the 1855 treaty.
Charles McNichols is dispatched from BIA to conduct a census of all people who would receive money from a settlement. McNichols did not finish the census.
Horace Durant assumes the responsibility of the census roll.
Horace Durant submits the Durant Census Roll to the Federal Government. This is the last official tribal record of the descendants of the Odawa and Ojibwa who were parties to the 1855 Treaty of Detroit.
30th September. At a meeting held in Harbor Springs, an approval is given to send two people back to Washington, D.C.
Kishigobenese and Albert Shananaquet, write by-laws for a new form of Odawa government and present them to E.B. Merritt, Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The goals of the group were to pursue solutions to old problems.
Michigan Indian Defense Association is formed, Jonas Shawandase, Ben Peshawbe, Joe Chingwa, Edward Hall, Paul Ahgosa, Alex Wasaquam and George Sands. This group organized to attempt to organize all Odawa to pursue Odawa claims.
Indian Reorganization Act (IRA, also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act) Economic development under new Tribal Constitutions.
Fred Ettawageshick, Chief Pipi-Qwa, revives the practice of adopting white men who are friends of the tribe and granting them Indian names.
Collier writes to Robert Dominic of Cross Village encouraging him to organize the Waganawkezee Odawa to pursue Odawa claims.
Work Project Administration, administered by Katherine Foley-Ward. It's 1st unit was opened in the summer of 1938 at Cross Village. Other sites were opened in Charlevoix, Leelanau, Chippewa and Mackinac Counties. WPA encouraged Tribal Arts and generated income.
November 9th, Michigan Foundation formed and incorporated. "To promote the Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Educational, Social and Economic welfare and advancement of the American Indian in particular by good will, donations, bequest, endowment and contribution.
Northern Michigan Ottawa Association (NMOA) is formed by Robert Dominic, Wauneta Dominic and Levi McClelland to file a case with the Indian Claims Commission. They hoped to get restitution for past grievances.
The NMOA annual meeting and elections are held in Petoskey, Michigan 4-H building.
The NMOA annual meeting and elections are held in Petoskey, Michigan. At this date the NMOA has held a meeting with elections every year, the third Saturday in June.
March 17. General Council Meeting at 1:00 pm at the 4-H Center in Petoskey, Michigan to approve certain contractual conditions and interests related to the tribal attorneys, tribe and BIA.
The NMOA Odawa win their claim, with the amount of ten million dollars.
NMOA presses the Federal Government to recognize it as the Tribal Government under the Indian Reorganization Act.
The Waganawkezee Odawa have trouble with the Government courts over the rights to fish and hunt.
The Great Lakes Treaty Council held at Cross Village, Michigan.
November 20th, At NMOA, Unit 1 officially became NMOA Little Traverse Bay Band. Ron Wemigwase is elected Tribal Chairman. Until the US Government recognizes Little Traverse Bay Band, they remain a part of the NMOA.
January 14th. Mid-Winter Feast and Pow-wow held at the Petoskey High Cafeteria and gymnasium.
June 18-19th. NMOA Annual meeting and elections.
December. Little Traverse Bay Band Board of Directors: Chairman, Ron Wemigwase, Vice Chairman, Sam Keway, Treasurer, Peggy Hemenway, Secretary, Yvonne M. Walker.
Holy Childhood of Jesus Boarding School closes its doors to boarders.
Holy Childhood of Jesus School opens a day care center for children. Run by school Sisters of Notre Dame and local tribal people.
June NMOA annual meeting and elections, Joe Genia is President of the NMOA.
Bib ska be me Inc. "We are coming back" (News story. Petoskey Evening News, August 22, 1984).
August 26th. First Elders Council Wycamp (Spirit Lake) and Traditional Powwow.
August 12-18th, 2nd Annual Elders Historical and Spiritual conference at Wycamp (Spirit Lake)
October 12, 1985. Traditional Fall Feast. This was renamed from Elders Historical and Spiritual council to avoid interference from DNR.
June 21st. 38th Annual Meeting NMOA at Northern Central Michigan College, Howard St. Petoskey, Michigan 49740.
March 11th. LTBBOI adopts an interim Constitution at the time of our incorporation. This occurred at a board meeting held at the home of Cathy McCann, 117 East Upright Street. The Constitution was developed from a proposed constitution prepared by Victor Kishigo and was amended in a lengthy meeting by members of the board. Jim McClurken recorded the results on his laptop computer and prepared the finished document.
February 11th. First (ANA) Administration for Native American Grant Tribal Sovereignty Project. Board members are: Chairman, Ron Wemigwase, Vice Chairman, Frank Ettawageshik, Joet Mitchell, Peggy Hemenway, Patricia Dyer, Cathy Lewis McCann, and Veronica Medicine Kishigo.
The LTBB File an Acknowledgment Petition with the Federal Government. This petition would reestablish Tribal Government and reassert Sovereignty over their affairs.
April 16th to March 1992. Simon Otto is Tribal Chairman.
June 1st. "Pilot New Letter" consists of 215 mailings, consisting of LTBB members and other organizations around the state.
June. LTTB Board meeting and Open House.
June. NMOA Annual meeting and elections.
September 7-8th. Workshop for Federal Recognition/Acknowledgment at NCMC. Linda Cross, Conference Coordinator.
March 10th. Ron Wemigwase, Tribal Chairman.
March 28th. LTBB rents the basement of 1345 US 131 North, from the Diocese of Gaylord from July 1, 1991 - June 30, 1992.
NMOA Annual Meeting at the 4-H Building in Petoskey, Michigan.
Frank Ettawageshik is President. Vice President, Joe Mitchell, Treasurer, Shirley Oldman, Secretary, Cathy McCann, Dan Chingwa, Patricia Dyer, Barry Laughlin and Peg Hemenway. Staff: Executive Coordinator, Simon Otto, Receptionist, Theresa Naganashe, and Enrollment Officer, Ron Wemigwase.
August 1st. Gah-Baeh-Jhagwah-Buk, The Way It Happened, by James McClurken is released. This book is a Visual Culture History of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa.
March 14th. March Community Meeting at Perry Hotel in Petoskey.
March 27th. Simon Otto's last day of work as Executive Coordinator. He retires.
June 20th. NMOA annual meeting at 4-H Building in Petoskey, Michigan.
July 8th. Trip to Washington, DC Hearings, HR 3958, Frank Ettawageshik, Donna Minot, Patricia Dyer, Ron Wemigwase, Harriet and Jake Booth.
August, Andrew J. Blackbird Museum hosts the Harbor Springs Powwow.
August 13-16th. Annual Elders Council, Ron Wemigwase, Ga-too-Geshik Elders Council Committee Representative.
Holy Childhood of Jesus Day Care closes.
14-18th September. Washington DC report. Shirley Oldman, Frank Ettawageshik, James McClurken and Daniel Chingwa are in Washington to testify at the Senate Sub-Committee on Indian Affairs and to check on the ANA Grant.
August, Andrew J. Blackbird hosts the 1993 Homecoming Powwow.
Chairman, Ettawageshik, Al Colby, Barry Laughlin met with Dale Kildee and witnessed the House vote Recognition Bill for LTBB. Ottawa, Ottawa, Ottoway, Odawa, Tawa, Tawaa.
September 21st, President Clinton signs Senate Bill 1357, Reaffirmation of Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians.
July 11th. Certified Election Count. Frank Ettawageshik reelected Tribal Chairman. Shirley Oldman: 240 votes, George Anthony: 235 votes, Barry Laughlin: 208 votes, Patricia Dyer Deckrow: 199 votes and Janet Shomin: 199 votes.
July 16th. Official "Swearing In" of the Tribal Council.
LTBBOI works on writing the Mission Statement at a workshop held at the VFW Hall.
Setting up Tribal Business: Programs, staff and offices.
Tribal Council 1998: Shirley Oldman, George Anthony, Patricia Dyer, Michelle Chingwa, Alice Yellowbank, Barry Laughlin, Frank Ettawageshik, Janet Shomin, and Rita Shananaquet.
LTBBOI Tribal Elections.
July 16th. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Casino grand opening.
August 31st. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Casino is closed by Judge Bell until the LTBBOI casino property is put in trust.
December: Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Casino reopens for business.

* History and Timeline courtesy of: LTBB Archives/Records Department.



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7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
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