Hannahville Indian Community
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Official Tribal Name:
Hannahville Indian CommunityAddress:
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning
Bode'wadmi - Firekeepers
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Prior to 1450, the Potawatomi lived further north in the upper Great Lakes, but then they begin a migration the led them to the south to settle in warmer climates and better agricultural lands. The rich soils along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and into northern Indiana and Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin now became their new homelands.
By 1550 they had established dozens of villages in what is now Michigan from Ludington to the north to St. Joseph River area in the south, and again in the northern regions of Indiana, Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin. They first encountered the French explorer Jean Nicolet in 1634 in the Detroit area.
The various Potawatomi bands in total were party to in part or entirely to a record 43 treaties in the United States and seven in Canada. This is the most treaties of any of the Indian tribes that exist today.
The Michigan Potawatomi were party to 11 different treaties, with the major treaty being the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. This treaty, was ratified under President Andrew Jackson in the era of Indian Removal (1932-1940), and set the stage for the justification of removing them West to Indian Territory (Oklahoma and Kansas).
Part of these southern Potawatomi were rounded up and forcefully removed to Indian Territory where they are now known as the Prairie Band Potawatomi of Kansas and Citizens Band Potawatomi in Oklahoma.
Those in southern Wisconsin fled north, settling around what is now Forest County, WI and became known as the Forest County Potawatomi of Crandon, WI. Another part of the tribe moved into the Upper Peninsula and are now known as the Hannahville Indian Community Potawatomi.
Some of the Potawatomi escaped removal and hid out on Walpole Island, and on other Canadian First Nation Anishnabek Reserves; some returned and became known as the Nottawaseppi Huron Band Potawatomi. The band that became known as the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, (numbering 280) in 1835 were led by Chief Leopold Pokagon and through his skillful negotiations were able to allude removal. under Chief Leopold Pokagon
Today, all of these 6 Potawatomi Tribes and the Gun Lake Pottawatomi along with their Canadian kinfolk, meet collectively from time to time for cultural, language, spiritual sharing and the like.
Hannahville Indian Community
Land Area: The tribe had a land base in 1999 consisting of 4,025 acres with 3,200 of it being in federal trust. Tribal Headquarters:
The reservation was established by an act of Congress in 1913, although descendants of the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin Potawatomi have been residing in the Wilson, Bark River, and Harris, MI area since 1853, specifically along the Cedar River.
In 1883 a Chippewa Methodist missionary by the name of Peter Marksman lent the Potawatomi at Cedar River money to establish a permanent location around the towns of Harris and Wilson. Eventually, the reservation became known as Hannahville, named after the wife of the missionary.
Currently, they continue to buy lands around Wilson and Harris, MI for future expansion and development.
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The current Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community tribal membership in 1999 was 703, with an unemployment rate of only 3%, and of those employed, 19% were living below the poverty line.
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
Membership is ¼ or more Hannahville Potawatomi bloodline. Dillution of blood quantum through mixed marriages accounts for the small tribal population at the present time.
Charter: Organized under the terms of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.
Name of Governing Body: Hannahville has a 12 member elected tribal council
Number of Council members: 12
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Elections are every two-years.
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The Potawatomi traditional means of subsistence included farming, hunting, fishing, gathering of wild fruits and berries, and later lumbering. Their bands lived in clan-based villages which were more complex then those of the Ojibwa or Ottawa as it relates to dodem and extended family structures duties, roles and responsibilities and social interactions protocol, because their communities were larger.
During the 1880s, the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community primarily subsisted by small scale farming and seasonal work in the woods as part of the area's thriving lumbering industry. By the early 1900s the forestry activities had dwindled and the community farmlands, always marginal at best, were worn out.
The members of the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community survived anyway they could and sought employment in whatever was possible. They continued to be basically ignored by the federal and state governments and had to turn inward for strength and survival purposes. In essence, health services were all but nonexistent and abject poverty was the norm.
The Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community struggled through the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s like the rest of Michigan Anishnabek country, with little hope or help for their peoples. Incidents of tuberculosis was high at Hannahville during the 40s & 50s, as well as short life expectancy, high rates of diabetes, alcoholism and inadequate educational and employment opportunities. The Tribal infrastructure was barely developed during these hard times.
After 1965, through President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty and national initiatives, their living conditions begin to improve, hope was reestablished and the infrastructure begin making significant gains. They joined Bay Mills, Keweenaw Bay and Saginaw Chippewa with the establishment of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Inc. in 1966.
In the early 1990s the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community signed a gaming compact with the Governor of the State of Michigan and opened a casino. It has evolved into the new Chip-In Casino - Hotel - Resort.
The gaming operations in this rural, high unemployment area of Michigan, has proved to be a major industry and economic boom to the region, for both the Native and non-native communities.
Today Hannahville has a host of new tribal facilities and membership services. They now possess the financial wherewithal to regularly interact with their other Potawatomi band relatives and it has really ignited their cultural-language-spirituality renewal.
The Hannahville Indian Community continues to operate and have for a number of years, a long-term treatment facility for Men, called The Three Fires Halfway House, an indication of their long commitment to substance abuse issues, and as indicated by the name, supportive of their Ojibwa and Ottawa Anishnabek brothers as well.Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:
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In 1975, they opened their own K-8 tribal school, via a grant from the American Bicentennial Commission for a community arts and crafts building. It is now a K-12 BIA funded tribal grant and Michigan Charter Public School Academy, and is housed in a beautiful state-of-the-art educational complex. The school and the welfare of the community children, continues to be the heartbeat of the Hannahville Potawatomi.
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