The Eagle Returns

The Eagle Returns: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians

Matthew L. M. Fletcher
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    The Eagle Returns
    Book Description:

    An absorbing and comprehensive survey,The Eagle Returns: The Legal History of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indiansshows a group bound by kinship,geography, and language, struggling to reestablish their right to self-governance. Hailing from northwest Lower Michigan, the Grand Traverse Band has become a well-known national leader in advancing Indian treaty rights, gaming, and land rights, while simultaneously creating and developing a nationally honored indigenous tribal justice system. This book will serve as a valuable reference for policymakers, lawyers, and Indian people who want to explore how federal Indian law and policy drove an Anishinaabe community to the brink of legal extinction, how non-Indian economic and political interests conspired to eradicate the community's self-sufficiency, and how Indian people fought to preserve their culture, laws, traditions, governance, and language.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-004-2
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-1)


    This book is a survey of many aspects of the history of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. It is a governmental, legal, and political history, with an emphasis on the status of the tribe both as a treaty tribe and as the very first tribe recognized by the Department of the Interior under its administrative recognition process. It is a story of how a group of Native, indigenous people bound together by kinship, geography, language, and culture changed how they governed themselves over the course of centuries to vest power and authority in a tribal...

  4. CHAPTER ONE The Story of the 1836 Treaty of Washington
    (pp. 2-33)

    The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is one of several Indian tribes who are signatories to the 1836 Treaty of Washington. These treaties brought together as a formal legal and political body the loose confederation of Indian communities or bands living in the Grand Traverse Bay region.² In both treaties, the Grand Traverse Band people, represented by its leaders orogemuk,sought to preserve a permanent tribal land base; reserve lake and inland hunting, fishing, and gathering rights; establish a government-to-government relationship with the United States; and acquire needed funds, materials, and services from the federal government....

  5. CHAPTER TWO The Story of the 1855 Treaty of Detroit
    (pp. 34-55)

    After the United States Senate abrogated many provisions of the 1836 Treaty of Washington without the consent of the Michigan Anishinaabek communities, the 1836 Treaty signatories sought a second treaty. The resulting Treaty of Detroit did little to benefit the Grand Traverse Anishinaabek by creating an allotment system of land ownership within a new Grand Traverse Reservation instead of creating a permanent reservation, but the 1855 Treaty did guarantee as a practical matter that the Grand Traverse Anishinaabek could avoid forced removal to the west.

    There were several reasons that the Michigan Anishinaabek sought a new treaty in the 1850s,...

  6. CHAPTER THREE The Story of the Dispossession of the Grand Traverse Band Land Base
    (pp. 56-83)

    The 1855 Treaty of Detroit intended to solidify the Anishinaabe land base did not help at all. In perhaps the worst case of mass fraud and incompetence in American Indian political and legal history, the Grand Traverse Band suff ered the near-complete dispossession of their lands.

    The Anishinaabek of the Grand Traverse Bay region lived in a complex system of property and land use for hundreds of years before the negotiation of the first American treaties.

    The origin story of the confederation of the several Ottawa villages with two Chippewa villages that would become the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR The Story of the Federal Recognition of the Grand Traverse Band
    (pp. 84-107)

    The story of the federal recognition of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians begins with the end of treaty times, when federal government bureaucrats, including the secretary of the Interior, practiced a policy that would later be called “administrative termination”—where federal officials illegally refused to acknowledge the government of the Grand Traverse Band beginning in the 1870s. No act of Congress, no treaty, and no agreement—nothing—authorized this action. And yet it was sufficient to deprive the Grand Traverse Band community of its bargained-for trust relationship with the United States for over one hundred years....

  8. CHAPTER FIVE The Story of the Grand Traverse Band’s Treaty Rights Fight
    (pp. 108-147)

    During treaty times, the Grand Traverse Band Anishinaabek negotiated to preserve their right to stay in Michigan and their way of life, including the right to access the Great Lakes and inland fisheries and hunting and gathering grounds. But by the early twentieth century, overfishing dramatically reduced the fisheries on the Great Lakes, and increasing non-Indian property ownership on and near the Grand Traverse Band reservations reduced tribal access to inland resources, creating incredible hardships for the Grand Traverse Band people. By the 1950s, the State of Michigan and its Department of Natural Resources had all but prohibited Indian people...

  9. CHAPTER SIX The Story of the Development of Modern Tribal Law and Justice Systems
    (pp. 148-167)

    Grand Traverse Band’s customs and traditions based on kinship have served as the foundation of the tribe’s law and justice system since time immemorial, but this ancient structure has been modernized in recent decades. One of the foundations of the good governance model developed by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians has been the structure of the tribal government as created in the tribal constitution. The constitution created a tribal council free from intrusive federal government interference, and allowed for the creation of a separate economic development corporation. The constitution preserved the independence of the tribal judiciary...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN The Story of the Grand Traverse Band’s Gaming Operations
    (pp. 168-189)

    The Grand Traverse Band opened its first gaming hall in 1984, and its gaming operations—the Leelanau Sands Casino and the Turtle Creek Casino—remain the greatest sources of the revenue for the tribal government.

    The Grand Traverse Band opened the first high-stakes Indian bingo hall in the State of Michigan in 1984, when the tribe opened the Super Bingo Palace and the Leelanau Sands Casino. In 1985, the Leelanau Sands Casino moved to a larger location and added table games.

    Although it may have seemed to outsiders that Indian tribes originated gaming operations as a means of exploiting the...

  11. AFTERWORD. Carcieri v. Salazar and the Band’s Future Land Base
    (pp. 190-194)

    In 2009, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision inCarcieri v. Salazar,¹ a case involving the authority of the secretary of the Interior to acquire land in trust for the Narragansett Tribe in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, the Court’s decision indirectly implicated the authority of the secretary to take land into trust for a host of Michigan Indian tribes, including the Grand Traverse Band. The Court held that the secretary may not take land into trust for Indian tribes that were not “under federal jurisdiction” at the time Congress enacted the Indian Reorganization Act—1934. The Grand Traverse...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 195-236)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 237-248)
  14. Index
    (pp. 249-257)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 258-258)