Figure 17. Michigan Treaties. Reprinted from “People of the Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan,” by J. Clifton, G. Cornell, and J. McClurken, 1986, p. 36.

Following its independence from Britain, the rapidly increasing population of the United States demanded access to new lands for settlement. To meet these demands, the United States Government negotiated numerous treaties by which Indian tribes would “cede” or sell large portions of their territory to the United States while “reserving” (withholding from sale) certain areas (referred to as “reservations”). Tribes, including the Huron Potawatomi, would usually also “reserve” rights to continue hunting on lands they sold to the United States

In Michigan alone, the Huron Potawatomi were involved in 11 different land treaties, of which the Treaty of Detroit resulted in the most significant reduction of land for the Band. Signed November 17th, 1807, in Detroit, Michigan, the Potawatomi, Chippewa, Ottawa, and Wyandots ceded eight million acres to the U.S. Government for roughly 1.2 cents per acre, which is equivalent to 23 cents per acre in 2021 (Leatherbury, 1977, p. 20; $0.01 in 1807 → 2021 | Inflation Calculator, n.d.).

For the cession of these lands in southeastern Michigan, the Huron Potawatomi received a direct payment of $1,666.66 6/10  as well as future annual payments (annuities) to be paid in perpetuity. Paid in Detroit, the annuity was to be “four hundred dollars to such of the Pottawatamies, as now reside on the river Huron of Lake Erie, the River Raisin, and in the vicinity of the said rivers” (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 23).

The Potawatomi chiefs who signed this Treaty were: Toquish, Noname, Nawme, Ninnewa, and Skush (see Figure 20). The Huron Potawatomi received annuity payments from this Treaty until they were eventually compounded for a lump sum in 1889 (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 23).

The Huron Potawatomi also reserved land reservations in most of these treaties – first, retaining the lands upon which their villages were located at the time of the 1807 Treaty of Detroit and later reserving lands in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan to which individual Chiefs would re-locate their villages.

Figure 18. Treaty of Detroit, 1807, Page 1. From “Treaty between the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi Indians,” 1807, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 1 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/161303994). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Figure 19. Treaty of Detroit, 1807, Page 2. From “Treaty between the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi Indians,” 1807, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 2 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/161303994). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Figure 20. Potawatomi Signatures. From “Treaty between the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot, and Potawatomi Indians,” 1807, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 2 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/161303994). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

References:

$0.01 in 1807 → 2021 | Inflation Calculator. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1807?amount=0.01

Clifton, J., Cornell, G., & McClurken, J. (1986). People of the Three Fires: The Ottawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibway of Michigan. The Michigan Indian Press.

Leatherbury, J. (1977). A History of Events Culminating in the Removal of the Nottawa-Sippe Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Ratified Indian Treaty 54: Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot and Potawatomi—Detroit, November 17, 1807 (Indian Treaties, 1789-1869). (1807). U.S. Government; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11. https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/161303994/

Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc. (1995). United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research. https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf