The history of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa is filled with travel and settlement. On the 27th of May, in 1980, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa gained full recognition in compliance with the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act. The members of this tribe are said to be the descendants of the Ottawa (also known as Odawa) and the Chippewa (or the Ojibwe) Indians. They are also said to have hailed from the Northern Michigan. Their name, the Ottawa or Odawa and sometimes even Odawu is said to have originated from the term “trader”. This term is also regarded from their own name which literally means the “People of the Bulrush”. Their members are mostly from the descendants of the nine other tribes that comprise the Ottawa Bands. These former Ottawa bands were the signatories of the 1836 and 1855 Treaties. These were only some out of the nineteen bands who were in the list of the Grand River Band Ottawa. Most of the bands from this huge tribe were forced to relocate in the reservation areas dedicated to them in the Mason and Oceana Counties. These were the Bands who were originally from the Manistee River up to those living in the Southern part of the Grand River near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Those nine bands were given their permanent villages called the Villages of the Grand River Bands. Their villages are now labeled as the Little River members whose villages are situated in the Thronapple, in Grand, White, Pere Marquette and in the Big and Little Manistee Rivers found in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It was the Ottawa and Chippewa Treaty of Detroit signed in 1855 that established the Ottawa/Chippewa nation as we know it today. They are currently the third largest Native American Indian Group in the whole of the United States and Canada. They are also known in their names as the Ojibwe, Ojibway, Chippeway or the Anishinaabe. Their community, known as the Bay Mills Indian Community is found in the land base of Sault Ste.Marie band of Chippewas which was created in compliance with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Their territory is known as the Grand Traverse Indian Resevation. The Reservation was created by the United States Secretary of Interior on the 27th of May in 1980. The reservation includes the lands acquired by the tribe as well as other added lands granted to them from the treaties with the government. The 1836 Treaty signed by the tribe covered the areas of some parts of the Grand River up to the Alepena area and in the upper portion of the Chocolay River East peninsula. Most of the reservation area is situated within the non-contiguous sections of land in the parts of eastern Suttons Bay Township which is in Leelanau County, Michigan. Today, the tribe is the main operator of the Leelanau Sands Casino, the Turtleneck Casino and Hotel as well as the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
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