Signed August 29, 1821, the first Treaty of Chicago resulted in much of the remaining Potawatomi land being ceded to the U.S. Federal Government. Similar to the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, the band of Huron Potawatomi were directly impacted by this treaty; most of Huron Potawatomi settled on a four-mile square tract of land reserved under the 1821 Treaty that was known as the “Nottawaseppi Reservation” located on the banks of the St. Joseph River in what is now St. Joseph County’s Mendon area. Other Huron Potawatomi bands retained land reservations at what is now Coldwater, Michigan or continued to reside on land reserved in the 1807 Treaty of Detroit.
The 1821 treaty ceded to the United States lands in the Michigan Territory south of the Grand River and west of what is now Jackson, Michigan, except for several small reservations. Also ceded was an easement between Detroit and Chicago; running through Indiana and Illinois, this tract of land wrapped around the southern coast of Lake Michigan. Many individual Chiefs and prominent leaders of Potawatomi bands were also permitted to retain tracts of lands for themselves or their children.
As they had in other Treaties, the Huron Potawatomi and other parties to the 1821 Treaty of Chicago also reserved the continued right to hunt on the lands they had ceded to the United States under the same terms as those retained in the 1795 Greenville Treaty.
It is interesting to note that historical records indicate many Huron Potawatomi likely migrated from the Huron River to the “Nottawa-Sippe” Prairie between 1815 and 1821 and that Moguago II (future Chief John Moguago’s father) established a village which contained 30 or 40 huts on the “Nottawa-Sippe” Creek, which was located west of present-day Leonidas, Michigan.
At this point, the “Nottawaseppi” designation was added to the Huron Potawatomi. The word “Nottawasippee” is an Anishnabek ethnic slur meaning “like rattlesnakes,” which referred to the Huron people who inhabited the area before the arrival of the Potawatomi.
Despite this name, the band had no direct connection with the unrelated Huron people; rather, both “Nottawaseppi” and “Huron” refer to the band’s historical location along the Huron River in southeastern Michigan. This river was formerly known as the “Nottawasippee River” or the “Huron River of St. Clair.”
Chivis, Dr. Jeff. “The History of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.”
Rodwan, John, and Virginia Anewishki. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, A People in Progress. Pine Creek Reservation, 2009.
Treaties and Agreements of the Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes Region. Institute for the Development of Indian Law, 1974.
United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, et al. “Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc.” HPI-V001-D004, https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf.