- A tribe of Algonquian Indians formerly inhabiting the Great lakes region,
particularly the shores of lake huron from Saginaw to Detroit. They
were Woodland Indians and in the early days were known as traders and barterers,
dealing in corn meal, sunflower oil, skins, and furs, rugs, tobacco, and
healing roots and herbs. In fact, their name came from the Cree word
meaning to buy and sell.
The Ottawa were warlike and cruel, and
during the days of the colonists, sided with the French against the English.
Before their westward movement, they joined with the Chippewa and the Potawatomi
and the confederation was known as the "Three Fires."
Pontiac, the celebrated chief, was a member
of the tribe, and Pontiac's War of 1763, fought mainly around Detroit,
is an important part of their history. They were active in all indian
wars up to and through the War of 1812.
In 1833 all Ottawa lands along the west
shore of lake Michigan was ceded to the Government in the Chicago Treaty.
many of the Ottawa moved west and today they have a small reservation in
Oklahoma. Others are scattered among the Chippewa in Michigan.
They have given their name to the most
important branch of the St. Lawrence River, as well as to the city on its
banks which became the capital of the Dominion of Canada. Their
name also is borne by counties in kansas, Michigan, and Ohio, and the province
of Quebec; by important cities in Illinois and Kansas; and by smaller
places and streams in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, and Virginia;
and by Ottawa Beach and Ottawa lake in Michigan.
within this Site
][ Chippewa ][ Pontiac
][ Potawatomi ]