History, Tales, and Destinations in the Land of Ahs


The Ottawa Indians

Bookmark and Share


Major Campbell arguing with Chief Pontiac"Ottawa" was name was formerly applied by the French to all the Algonquin tribes who dwelt on the shore of Lake Superior and Upper Michigan; but later, only to those Indians that  made their homes in the more southern part of the State of Michigan, in the vicinity of Grand River, and in the States of Ohio and Indiana.


The first treaty concluded between the United States and the Indian tribes west of New York was at Fort McIntosh on January 21, 1785. It was with the Wyandot, Delaware, Chippewa and Ottawa, giving peace to those nations on certain conditions, and defining boundaries. Similar treaties were made with these tribes and others, at Fort Harmar, in 1789, by Governor St. Clair; and at Greenville, Ohio in 1795, by General Anthony Wayne; the latter being "to put an end to a destructive war, to settle all controversies, and to restore harmony and friendly intercourse between the said United States and Indian tribes."


A boundary line between the United States and the country inhabited by the tribes was established, and trade was opened with them. At this time, a part of the Ottawa resided on the River Huron, of Lake Erie," and a part at the Maumee River in Ohio.


At Detroit, November 17, 1807, the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot and Pottawatomie nations ceded the following land: Beginning at the mouth of the Maumee River of the lakes, and running then up the middle thereof to the mouth of the Great Auglaize River; then running due north until it intersects a parallel of latitude, to be drawn from the outlet of Lake Huron which forms the River Sinclair; then running northeast, the course that may be found will lead in a direct line to White Rock, in Lake Huron; then due east until it intersects the boundary line between the United States and Upper Canada in said lake; then southwardly, following the said boundary line down said lake, through River Sinclair, Lake Sinclair and the Detroit River, into Lake Erie, to a point due east of the aforesaid Maumee River; then west to the place of beginning.


To the Ottawa was paid in consideration of their share in this cession, $3,333.33 in cash, an annuity of $800, and the services of a blacksmith, to reside at the Maumee River for the term of ten years, a tract of land being reserved to them "on the Maumee of Lake Erie, above Roche de Boeuf, to include the village where the Tondaganie (or the Dog) now lives."


Other cessions were made by the treaty concluded with the tribe at the Rapids of the Maumee on September 29, 1817, in which they were granted a tract containing thirty-four square miles near the Maumee River, and there was reserved for their use "but not granted to them: a tract of land "on Blanchard's Fork of the Great Auglaize River, to contain five miles square, the center of which tract to be where the old trace crosses the the fork, and one other tract to contain three miles square, on the Little Auglaize River, to include the Oquanoxas Village."


By the terms of the treaty concluded between the United States and the Ottawa Nation on August 30, 1831, and ratified April 6, 1832, these bands of Ottawa (Blanchard's Fork and Roche de Boeuf) ceded the above-mentioned reservations (aggregating 49,917 acres) to the United States, and were assigned "a tract of land to be located adjoining the south or west line of the reservation, equal to fifty miles square, granted to the Shawnees of Missouri and Ohio, on the Kansas River and its branches."


Ottawa Baptist Mission. In 1836, the Ottawa of Blanchard's Fork and Roche de Boeuf were moved from Ohio to this reservation, which was a tract of about ten by twelve miles, watered by the Marais des Cygnes River and its numerous small tributaries. It was in the heart of present-day county of Franklin County, Kansas. The Indians, when moved, were inferior to many of the tribes then living in the Territory, but, through the influence of Jotham Meeker, supplemented by that of John T. Jones and his accomplished wife, they became, in process of time, an honest, industrious, prosperous people.


On June 24, 1862, the Ottawa concluded a treaty with the United States, which, with amendments, was ratified July 16, 1862.


The following was the opening clause of the first article: "The Ottawa Indians of the United Bands of Blanchard's Fork and of Roche de Boeuf, having become sufficiently advanced in civilization, and being desirous of becoming citizens of the United States, it is hereby agreed and stipulated that their organization and their relations with the United States as an Indian tribe shall be dissolved and terminated at the expiration of five years from the ratification of this treaty: and from and after that time, the said Ottawa, and each and every one of them, shall be deemed and declared to be citizens of the United States, to all intents and purposes, and shall be entitled to all the rights, privileges and immunities of such citizens, and shall, in all respects, be subject to the laws of the United States, and of the State or States thereof in which they may reside."




The principal provisions of the treaty were:


The Ottawa were to become citizens of the State of Kansas in July, 1867, their annuities to be commuted and paid to them. Heads of families were to receive 160 acres of land each, and all other members, eighty acres each; none of this land to be sold until they became citizens, and forty acres, including house and improvements, not to be sold during the life of the owner. Twenty thousand acres of average lands were to be located for school purposes, and the remainder to be sold to actual settlers, at not less than $1.25 per acre. Four years later, the Ottawa were paid their last annuity. Of their lands, 87,000 acres were sold to settlers, and 20,000 given to Ottawa University. 


On February 23, 1867, a treaty was made with the Ottawa still living in Kansas, providing for their removal to the Indian Territory. There, they purchased almost 15,000 acres of the Shawnee reservation. By this time, there were only about 200 Ottawa left.

In 1956 The United States Government decided that the Ottawa Tribe served no purpose and terminated them. The Ottawa, however, did not give up and on May 15, 1978 the Ottawa Tribe was restored. today the tribe has almost 5,000 members.


Contact Information:


Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma

P.O. Box 110
Miami, Oklahoma  74355




Compiled by Kathy Weiser/Legends of Kansas,

updated March, 2017.


About this article: The primary content for this article is an edited rendition of the Ottawa Indians as told in William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, Illinois. Note that the article is not verbatim as minor corrections for spelling and punctuation, editing for clarity, and updates since the article was first written, have been made.


Rocky Mountain General Store LogoFrom Legends' General Store

Legends' General Store provides a number of items for our nostalgic and traveling readers. Here, you'll find a wide selection of new and used books, postcards, vintage photographs, Route 66 memorabilia, videos,, museum quality art prints, and Custom Products only available through the Legends' General Store, and much more. Legend's of America's General Store is our avenue for to support this website, without pop-up ads, and continue our travels to provide even more interesting stories and information. Come on in and take a look around.

Tee-Pee Trading Post

TeePeeTrading Post

 Photo Prints from Legends of America

Photo Prints

Postcard Rack - Vintage and current postcards for sale.

Postcard Rack

Route 66 Emporium

Route 66 Emporium

Books at the Rocky Mountain General Store

The Book Shelf

Old West Mercantile

Old West Mercantile

  About Us      Contact Us       Article/Photo Use      Guestbook      Legends Of America      Links      Photo Blog      Site Map     Writing Credits  

Copyright 2009-Present, www.Legends of Kansas.com is a web property of Legends Of America