TRIBE NAME: Derived from the Algonquian word adawe, meaning "to trade" or "to buy and sell." It was an apt name for the tribe, who had an active trading relationship with the Chippewa and Potawatomi, as well as others in the region.
LANGUAGE: The Ottawa tribe belongs to that portion of the Algonquian linguistic family which originally had villages in the southern part of what is now Michigan, in the vicinity of Grand River, as well as in Ohio and Indiana.
HISTORY: Some of the early Ottawa were located near the mouth of the French River, Georgia Bay, in the early seventeenth century. A large portion of the tribe was living on Manitoulin Island. Wars moved them west to the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. By 1700, the tribe had migrated in every direction to the St. Joseph River, southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, the shores of Lake Huron near the Chippewa, the shores of Lake Erie near the Wyandotte and from Detroit eastward to Pennsylvania.
It was in the vicinity of present-day Detroit that the celebrated Ottawa chief, Pontiac, waged war in 1763. Pontiac was bitterly opposed to the invasion of Indian country by the British, but when his plan for an uprising of all the tribes against the British was unsuccessful, he finally made a peace treaty in 1765. In 1831, three groups of the Ottawa tribe ceded their lands in Ohio to the United States. These Ottawa resisted removal to a reservation in Kansas but moved five years later.
Under pressure in Kansas for the opening and sale of their Indian lands, the Ottawa concluded a treaty in 1862, providing for an allotment of land in Indian Territory. An unusual provision in this treaty set aside 20,000 acres of the tribal domain as a foundation for a school for the Ottawa, which is known today as Ottawa College. The Ottawa tribe then moved to their new home, a 14,860-acre reserve bounded by the Neosho River on the west and lying both south and east of present Miami in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, where they are located today.
CULTURE: The Ottawa were agriculturists as far as the northern climate would permit. They were great hunters and especially skillful in fine handwork and the invention of small toys and trinkets. Plus, they were noted as intertribal traders and barterers, dealing in pelts, floor coverings and medicinal herbs.
LANDMARKS:Exhibits at the National Hall of Fame for Famous American Indians (Anadarko); the State Museum of History (Oklahoma City); and at both the Gilcrease and Philbrook Museums (Tulsa).
Current tribal roll: 2,218
Charles Dawes, Chief
Chief Pontiac's Siege of Detroit - http://detnews.com/history/pontiac/pontiac.htm
The Detroit News' biography of the Ottawa chief chronicles his accomplishments as orator, leader, and warrior. Includes historical illustrations.
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians - http://www.gtb.nsn.us/
Homepage of this Michigan tribe includes basic historical information and a newsletter.
Native American Authors Project - http://www.ipl.org/cgi/ref/native/browse.pl/A221
Profile and bibliography of the 19th Century Ottawa/Chippewa author, Andrew J. Blackbird (Mac-ke-te-be-nessy).
Office of Native American Programs - http://www.codetalk.fed.us/spottawa.html
Listing of federal program offices and contacts for the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Ohio History Central: Ottawa Indians - http://www.ohiokids.org/ohc/history/h_indian/tribes/ottawa.html
Online article from the Ohio Historical Society provided as an educational resource, with links to related information.
Ojibwe and Ottawa - http://www.geocities.com/bigorrin/ojib.htm
Background information and indexed links about Ojibwe and Ottawa culture, community, history, language, and genealogy.
Ottawa Bibliographic Sources Project - http://www.scottnicholson.com/scholastic/ottawa.html
Guide to reference works about the culture and history of the tribe, their encounters with Europeans, and their chief Pontiac, who banded together many tribes for a fierce battle known as Pontiac's Rebellion.
Ottawa History - http://www.dickshovel.com/otta.html
Comprehensive historical and cultural treatise of the Great Lakes tribe, from pre-history to their migration to Kansas and Oklahoma.
The Flag of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma - http://user.aol.com/donh523/navapage/ottawa.htm
Photograph of the tribal flag, with a brief history of the tribe and explanation of its symbols.
Anishinaabemowin - http://www.msu.edu/user/dearhous/lang.html
Ojibwe grammatical notes, vocabulary, pronunciation guide, and sample dialogues in the Odaawa dialect.
First Ojibwe Language and Culture - http://first-ojibwe.net/
Ojibwe language site with an online bulletin board, wordlists, and lists of resources.
Ojibwe (Anishinaabemowin, Chippewa, Ottawa) Language - http://www.geocities.com/bigorrin/ojib.htm
Page dedicated to the Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) language, also with information and links about Ojibwe and Ottawa culture, history, and genealogy.
Ojibwe Grammar Reference - http://www.css.edu/students/pfarell/Ojibwe.html
Simple grammar of Ojibwe.
Ojibwe Language and Culture - http://www.citilink.com/~nancyv/ojibwe/o_langua.htm
Basic introduction by Nancy Vogt. Links.
Ojibwe Language Society - http://www.ojibwemowin.com/
Homepage of the Ojibwemowin Zagaswe'idiwin (Ojibwe Language Society), offering Ojibwe lessons and resources in the Minnesota area.
Speaking the Language of the Fur Trade - http://www.whiteoak.org/learning/language.htm
French, Ojibwe, and English terms relating to the fur trade; also an Ojibwe-English phrasebook.