Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is said to be the modern expression of the Anishinabeg who used to inhabit the region of the Great Lakes more than five hundred years ago. The lineage of the tribal government extends up to the 1940's when there used to be a group of Sugar Island residents who first tried to establish a community. The first few gatherings were relatively small, with only two or three residents interested in building their community. As time passed, more and more were drawn to the talks and soon, the coffee talks became more formal. The Sugar Island residents who were the descendants of the Anishinabeg soon called the place a "Gathering Place". They soon found the place suitable for discussions over small things and even bigger things. The people used to live near the rapids of the St. Mary's River. The St. Mary's River is known to them as the Bawating. The area soon became known as the City of Sault Ste. Marie. In the year 165, however, the first contact with the Whites happened when the ancestors of the tribe greeted the French who traveled from the Montreal to the Sault in order to gather beaver pelts which was a commodity in the flourishing fur trade. The French sovereignty ended in the year 1763, almost one hundred years after. When it ended, the English moved into another area to take over the fur trade. Soon enough, after several years under the control of the French, the treaty-making period of the United States flourished. As it flourished, the tribe signed several treaties along with the federal government not knowing that the treaties served as illusion. The tribe was eluded into the real purpose of the treaties but in the years to come, they have gone to realize that the treaties were mainly fraud and that the treaties aimed at ceding their tribal lands. The treaties terminated their rights to fish, hunt and even took their lands away from them along with the waters of the Anishinabeg. It was on the 24th of December, in the year 1953 when they were called the Sugar Island Group of Chippewa Indians and Their Descendants. The federal government, however, considered them to be part of the Bay Mills Indian Community. Being considered as part of the Bay Mills, they did not feel the rights of being an independent tribe. They pushed through their rights to be known as a separate and distinct tribe and they succeeded. Even if it took more than twenty years to gain federal recognition, still, they were happy to have been formally recognized by the federal government. The tribe then became known as the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Finally, they were legal and they then adopted their constitution in the fall of 1975. Today, they are engaged in business enterprises. There are currently 29,000 enrolled members. The tribe gains revenues from its casino as well as non-gaming businesses and real estate.
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