Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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United States Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of the US Gotoarrow.png Michigan Gotoarrow.png Indigenous Peoples of Michigan Gotoarrow.pngSault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

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Tribal Headquarters[edit | edit source]

Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa
523 Ashmun St.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Fax: 1.906.632.4959

Non Federal[edit | edit source]

In response to the thousands of Chippewas who were moving westward from southern Michigan and Ohio, the government of the United States agreed to create a Chippewa Reservation which covered the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. By the late 1800s, there was conflict between the government and the indigenous tribes over the treaty of March 28, 1836. Leaders of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe refused to cede their reservation lands. For a period of time the government declined to recognize the tribe.

In 1934, the Indian Reorganization Act was introduced. The Sault Tribe of Chippewas either refused to participate or they were not allowed the opportunity to vote on the acceptance of the act. At that time (1934), the Soo Tribe was thought to be a part of Bay Mills. On November 13, 1975, the government of the United States resumed federal recognition of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. However, they did not recognize the vast Reservation created for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan.

History[edit | edit source]

Long before European settlers came onto Indian lands, the Chippewas lived in the east. Their westward migration may have happened as far back as 11,500 years ago. They followed the Saint Lawrence River and settled in several location including Mooniyaang (Montreal) and Baweting (Sault Ste. Marie). At Baweting, the Chippewas agreed to colonize new lands to the south, north, and west.

Those Chippewas who migrated south into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana are known as the Illini, Menominee, Miami, Potawatomi, Sac or Sauk, and Shawnee. Those Chippewas who migrated south all the way to the Gulf of Mexico including Florida, are the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. In the Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi region the Chippewas are known as the Atakapa, Natchez, Chitimacha, Tunica, and Tonkawa. In the far south, the Chippewas were largely mixed with other Indian Nations and blacks who all were under Chippewa protection.

The Chippewas who migrated to the north and northwest are the Chipewyan and Cree. The Chipewyan migrated northwest into far northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Alaska. The Cree migrated up to northern Ontario, central Manitoba, central Saskatchewan, and central Alberta.

From Baweting, the Chippewas and Odawa or Ottawa of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, migrated west along both the northern and southern shores of Lake Superior. They migrated into the region in northwestern Ontario, between the Ontario-Minnesota border and Fort Severn, Ontario. They eventually colonized the lands of southern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, southern Alberta, and southern British Columbia. They also colonized Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, California, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. In California, they are known as the Wappo, Wiyot, Yuki, and Yurok.

Once they learned that Europeans were settling westward, they followed prophecies that were part of their culture and attempted to stop the settlements of Indian lands by the whites. For nearly 400 years they were constantly at war with the white invaders and their Indian allies. directions.

Baweting was a very important location. Baweting was the capital of the eastern Lake Superior Chippewas who are also known as the Saulteaux and the Nez Perce. The Amikwa Chippewas are also known as the Nez Perce. Click here: to learn about the Macro-Algonquian Languages.

Brief Timeline[edit | edit source]


Before Europeans settled in the land, the Chippewas had migrated from the east to the eastern shores of Lake Superior. It was from that location which is called by the Chippewas Ba-wi-tig, that either a land distribution happened or another unknown event, led to the dispersal of the Chippewas in three directions. One group went south into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. They are known by several names including Illini, Mami, Potawatomi, Sac, Saginaw, Sauk, and Swan Creek and Black River Chippewas. Sac and Sauk, are short for Saginaw. The Fox Tribe is not Algonquian according to William W. Warrens 19th century book "History of the Ojibway People." Another group went north into northern Ontario. They are the Chipewyan and Cree. According to the 1832 Edinburgh Encyclopedia, the Athabascan People or Dene People including the Apache, Chipewyan, and Navajo, are Algonquian or speak Algonquin. Click

The other group is the Sault (pronounced as Sioux or Soo) Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. They colonized the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Among them are the Ottawa or Odawa. However, the Ottawa People are really Chippewas who absorbed many non Chippewas. The Sault Tribe also colonized the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. They are slightly different than the more southerly Chippewas who are the Illini, Miami, Potawatomi, Sac, Saginaw, Sauk, and Swan Creek and Black River Chippewas. Many of the southerly Chippewas absorbed many non Chippewas among their populations.


This is the beginning of the Indian/White wars. Early in the 16th century, the Dutch and French invaded the region between Quebec City and Albany, New York. The Chippewas drove them out and also drove the Indian allies of the whites out.


White soldiers and their Indian allies launched a massive military campaign against the Chippewas and other Indian Tribes, from Quebec, eastern Ontario, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Large numbers of Chippewas and other Indian Tribes, were driven west of Lake Michigan. From the Montana region, 10,000s of Chippewa soldiers reinforced the Chippewa refugees in northern Wisconsin. By the 1650s, the massive military campaign of the whites and their Indian allies, was crumbling. More Chippewa reinforcements from the Montana region, increased the number of Chippewa soldiers from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico including Florida.


Around this time the Amikwa Chippewas who lived between the eastern shores of Lake Superior, northern shores of Lake Huron, to the Lake Nipissing region in Ontario, were driven west. They settled along the northern shores of Lake Superior. By the 1670s, many had returned to their original homeland but many followed their tribal prophecy and migrated west into Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California. The Amikwa are also known as the Nez Perce. Amikwa means Beavers in Chippewa. The Beaver Tribe including the Sekani, of British Columbia are Amikwa Chippewas.


By 1700, the Chippewas of the Lake Superior region had halted the advance of the white settlers. They had actually halted the advance of the white settlers and their Indian allies, during the 1670s. King Phillips War may have been an attempt by the Chippewas to drive the whites out of North America. By 1700, Chippewa soldiers were preventing the whites from advancing further to the west and north.


A long war was fought during these years between Chippewa soldiers and the white settlers. Chippewa soldiers were still strong enough to halt the westward advance of the white invaders. 1774-1795:Another long war was fought between Chippewa soldiers and the white soldiers. By this time many Chippewas, especially to the south, were tired of fighting. The more southerly Chippewas had absorbed many non Chippewa Indians and they were willing to accept peace or stay neutral. Land cessions began with the 1795 Greeneville Treaty. 1805-1815:More land cessions followed and then the War of 1812. After the War of 1812, the Chippewas of Michigan began to cede land and Reservations were created for them. However, the United States refused to honor many of the treaties that were enacted in that time period.


During these two years there was a large numbers of Chippewas relocated from the Michigan and Ohio areas, to the west mainly to the Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma regions. Through treaty agreement, the United States created a large Chippewa Reservation for the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan. They claim Michigan was given 3/4 quarters of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in exchange for a narrow strip of land claimed by both Michigan and Ohio called the Toledo Strip. It covered 468 sq. mi. It was given to Ohio.

In 1893, a news story went nationwide which told readers that the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan was Chippewa land or a Chippewa Reservation. Click: to read the March 28, 1893 article.

Additional References to the History of the Tribe[edit | edit source]

Reservations[edit | edit source]

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan today, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewas have several small Reservations which are recognized by the government of the United States. They include:

  1. Sault Saint Marie Reservation (2010 population is 1,237) 
  2. Bay Mills Indian Community (2010 population is 852)
  3. L'Anse or Keweenaw Bay Reservation (2010 population is 1,298)
  4. Lac Vieux Reservation (2010 population is 119)
  5. Hannahville Indian Community (2010 population is 453)

Records[edit | edit source]

Important Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]