Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan

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The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians were originally part ofthe Keweenaw Bay Band and resided in the Watersmeet area. They received federal recognition as a separate tribe in 1988.

Official Tribal Name: Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Michigan

Address: N. 4698 US 45, Watersmeet, MI 49969
Phone: (906) 358-4577
Fax:
Email:

Official Website: www.lvdtribal.com/

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

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Alternate names / Alternate Spellings / Mispellings: Formerly known as Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians,  Chipewa, Chipawa, Anishinaabe, Anishinababe, Anishinabeg, Ojibway, Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, Algonquin,  More names for Ojibwe

Ojibwe / Chippewa in other languages:

Aoechisaeronon or Eskiaeronnon (Huron)
Assisagigroone (Iroquois)
Axshissayerunu (Wyandot)
Bawichtigouek or Paouichtigouin (French)
Bedzaqetcha (Tsattine)
Bedzietcho (Kawchodinne)
Dewakanha (Mohawk)
Dshipowehaga (Caughnawaga)
Dwakanen (Onondaga)
Hahatonwan (Dakota)
Hahatonway (Hidatsa)
Jumper, Kutaki (Fox)
Leaper, Neayaog (Cree)
Nwaka (Tuscarora)
Ostiagahoroone (Iroquois)
Rabbit People (Plains Cree)
Regatci or Negatce (Winnebago)
Saulteur (Saulteaux)
Sore Face (Hunkpapa Lakota)
Sotoe (British)
Wahkahtowah (Assiniboine)

Regions:

Northeast (Eastern Woodland) –> Ojibwa, Chippewa and Potawatomi
Plains Indians  –> Chippewa Indians

State(s) Today: Michigan

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Ojibwe

Treaties:

Reservation: Lac Vieux Desert Reservation
Land Area: 1269 acres of which 296 acres are federal trust lands.
Tribal Headquarters: Watersmeet, MI
Time Zone: Central

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Government:

Charter:
Constitution for the government, protection and common welfare of the Lac Vieux Desert Band pursuant to the Act of September 8, 1988 (102 Stat. 1577), and the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984), as amended.Name of Governing Body:
Number of Council members: 5 plus executive officers
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Number of Executive Officers: Chairman, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer

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Origins:

Bands, Gens, and Clans

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Today the bands are politically independent and are federally recognized as independent tribes with their own governments. They remain culturally closely connected to each other and have engaged in common legal actions concerning treaty rights, such as fishing for walleye. Many bands include “Lake Superior Chippewa” in their official tribal names (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, etc.)

Historical bands and political successors apparent are the following:

  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, merged from Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

    • L’Anse Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (historical)
    • Ontonagon Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (historical)
  • Fond du Lac Band  (one of the six bands that make up the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe)

  • Grand Portage Band  (one of the six bands of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe)

  • Bois Forte Band  of Chippewa, (one of the six bands of Minnesota Chippewa Tribe), merged from

    • Lake Vermilion Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (historical)
    • Little Forks Band of Rainy River Saulteaux (historical)
    • Nett Lake Band of Rainy River Saulteaux (historical)

In addition to the full political Successors Apparent, the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe (via the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Minnesota), Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (via Removable Fond du Lac Band of the Chippewa Indian Reservation), and the White Earth Band of Chippewa (via the Removable St. Croix Chippewa of Wisconsin of the Gull Lake Indian Reservation) in present-day Minnesota retain minor Successorship to the Lake Superior Chippewa. They do not exercise the Aboriginal Sovereign Powers derived from the Lake Superior Chippewa. These bands are, however, now represented by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

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Modern Day Events & Tourism:

The Lac Vieux Desert Traditional pow wow is held the 2nd weekend in August at the Old Indian Village in Watersmeet, MI.

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The tribe owns a resort and casino, motel, and convenience store.

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Ojibwe / Chippewa People of Note

Renae Morriseau

Catastrophic Events:

Sandy Lake Tragedy – The Sandy Lake Tragedy was the culmination of a series of events centered in Sandy Lake, Minnesota, that resulted in the deaths in 1850 of about 400 Lake Superior Chippewa when officials of the Zachary Taylor Administration and Minnesota Territory tried to relocate several bands of the tribe to areas west of the Mississippi River.

Tribe History:

The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (LVD) originally lived on South Island in Lac Vieux Desert until they moved to the south shore of the lake around 1880. After the treaty of 1854, a large portion of the Lac Vieux Desert Band returned to this village from the established reservation at L’anse. When the ceded Indian lands were placed on public sale, the Indian of Katikitegoning pooled part of the yield of their winter hunting, and took the furs to the Public Land Office in Marquette to purchase the land they were living on.

In recent history, the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians were recognized by most as members of the Keweenaw Bay Band and resided in the Watersmeet area. In the 1960s, members of LVD began the effort to reorganize as a separate and distinct Band.

In 1988, after years of persistence, President Reagan signed the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians Act that recognized LVD as a separate and distinct Tribe

The 80+ mile Lac Vieux Desert to L’anse Trail played a significant role in the culture of the Ojibwe people prior to the 17th and 18th century. This trail provides access to the major water routes connecting Lake Superior in the north to the Mississippi via the Wisconsin River and Lake Michigan to the east. It is near Lac Vieux Desert that the three major watersheds meet, hence the current name of the Village of Watersmeet.

Earliest written accounts of the trail are from French fur traders and missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries. Explorers, government land surveyors, miners, land prospectors and loggers also used the trail in the 1930’s. Tribal members continued to use the trail into the 1940’s.

The Lac Vieux Desert to L’anse Trail project is the result of a Historic Preservation Fund Grant to Indian Tribes by the National Park Service. During the year 2000, the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, in collaboration with the Ottawa National Forest, developed a historic preservation grant to identify and preserve the historically and culturally significant Lac Vieux Desert to L’anse Trail in Baraga, Houghton, Iron and Gogebic counties in the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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