Famous Ottawa Chiefs and Leaders
The Ottawa, also known as Odawa or Odaawaa, are an American Native American tribe and First Nations band. They are one of the Anishinaabeg, related to but distinct from the Ojibwe and Potawatomi people.
Their original homelands are located on Manitoulin Island, near the northern shores of Lake Huron, on the Bruce Peninsula in the present-day province of Ontario, Canada and in the state of Michigan in the United States.
Famous Ottawa include:
Andrew Blackbird (ca. 1814/7–1908), tribal leader, historian, and author.
Kelly Church, blackash basket weaver and birch bark biter.
Cobmoosa (1768–1866), chief.
Egushawa (ca. 1726–1796), war chief.
Enmegahbowh (ca. 1807–1902), first Native American to be ordained as an Episcopal priest.
Magdelaine Laframboise, Odawa-French fur trader and businesswoman, also supported public education for children on Mackinac Island; added in 1984 to Michigan’s Women’s Hall of Fame.
Ningweegon (aka Negwagon), chief of the Odawa of the Michilimackinac region of Michigan, sometimes known in English as “The Wing,” or “Wing.” Although some sources refer to him as “Little Wing,” this does not have supporting documentation.
Daphne Odjig (b. 1919), Woodlands style painter and member of the Indian Group of Seven.
Petosegay (1787–1885), merchant and fur trader.
Pontiac (ca. 1720–1769), chief. In 1769, he attended a large meeting at Cahokia, Illinois, where drinking took place and he was assassinated by a Peoria Indian.
Chief Pontiac (About 1720 – April 20, 1769)
Pontiac , also known as Obwandiyag, became chief of his band of Ottawa Indians in 1755. He was influential in the Council of Three Tribes, an intertribal group consisting of the Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwa people. Pontiac organized his and other tribes in the Great Lakes area to fight the British, in what is now known as Pontiac’s War in 1763-64.
Pontiac’s Birth and Ancestry
Not much is known about Pontiac’s life prior to 1763. According to Chevrette, he was probably born between 1722 and 1725, at an Ottawa village on the Detroit or Maumee rivers. Sugden says Pontiac was probably born about 1714 along the Detroit River, and Peckham gives an estimate of around 1720.
The tribal affiliation of his parents is uncertain. According to an 18th-century Ottawa tradition, Pontiac’s mother was an Ottawa and his father an Ojibwa, although some sources claim one of his parents was a Miami. Pontiac was always identified as an Ottawa by people who knew him.