Welcome to the Ottawa Tribe Archives of the state of Oklahoma!
Derived from the Algonquian word adawae, meaning "to trade," or "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.
Some of the early Ottawa were located near the mouth of the French River, Georgia Bay, in the early 17th century. A large portion of the tribe was living on Manitoulin Island. Wars moved them west to 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 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 day Miami in Ottawa County, Oklahoma where they are located today.
The Ottawa were agriculturalists 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.
Gene Phillips -State Archivist
Linda Simpson - Archivist-Indian Nations/Indian Territory
Help the Ottawa Tribe Archives grow, kindly submit your data.
If you have any cemetery records, bible records, deeds, applications for citizenship in the Ottawa Tribe, land patents, probate records, allotment records, etc, that pertain to the Ottawa Tribe, please send them to me as an attachment in an e-mail to Interim File Manager. Please be sure to identify that it is for the Ottawa Tribe. It also needs to be a plain text file, no HTML and no images. This ensures that everybody will be able to read it, no matter what kind of web browser. Here is a help file.
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Last Updated: 29 Aug 2009