Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

Mailing Address

7500 Odawa Circle
Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians was federally recognized along with the signing of the Public Law 103-324. The signing happened on the 21st of September, in 1994. The tribe is an independent sovereign community wholly governed by their Tribal Council which is composed of nine members of the adult tribesmen. They were formally known as NMOA, Unit 1. It was Unit 1 who first filed for the Ottawa Fishing Rights during the 1980’s. The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians has long settled in the area even prior to the arrival of the Europeans on the Turtle Island which is now known as Canada, North and the South America. They did not; however, originated in the place as they were migratory coming from the Upper Peninsula and the northern area tip of Michigan, and, on winter months, the tribe travels to the South of Michigan. 

The tribe thrived on maple syrup, fish and root crops. They were also known to be gatherers of fruits, herbs as well as medicinal plants and other food products. These food resources that they have are preserved for further use in the winter months. These were the natural diet of the tribe until the arrival of the Europeans who brought with them new types of food. The Europeans settled in Escabana, NocBay, Mackinac, Cross Village, Good Hart, Middle Village, Harbor Springs, Petoskey and along the Bay Shore Area. After the White’s settlement, the Indians then decided to migrate instead to the southern areas of the state. The Indians also started working for the new inhabitants as these Europeans started building permanent houses, schools and businesses. 

During the treaty making period of the United States government, the administration did not comply with their promises to the Indians. In return, the tribe filed a suit against the government in order to get what was stated in the 1836 and the 1855 treaties. The Michigan Indian Defense Association of 1933, the Michigan Indian Foundation of 1947 and the Northern Michigan Ottawa Association in 1948 all worked together to unite the United States government and the Indians. 

When the tribe was reorganized on the 29th of November, 1982, it took the name Little Traverse Bay Bands but the federal government refused to allow them to be recognized since they were then considered as an organization and not as an autonomous tribe. On the 21st of September, in 1994, they finally succeeded.

Today, they have over four thousand members, most of which are living in the Charlevoix and Emmet Counties. Their reservation area covers more than three hundred thirty six square miles of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Their reservation is divided among two counties. Among the reservation are boundaries, the largest of which are the Petoskey, the Harbor Springs and the Charlevoix. The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians have more than one hundred employees working full time or part time. Most of these employees are working in the Oddawa Casino Resort, the tribe's primary business.

Featured Tribal News

No featured news.