NHBP Historical Timeline Overview

Year(s)

Event(s)

0796

Westward Migration of Anishinabe | Formation of the Council of Three Fires

~1441

The Council of Three Fires Split into Separate Groups | Potwatomi Migrate South to Lower Michigan

1634

First Recorded Encounter with Europeans

1640 - 1701

Beaver Wars (French and Iroquois Wars) Force Relocation to Door County, Wisconsin

1687

Great Lakes Algonquin and French Drive Iroquois Back to New York | Potawatomi Migration Back to Michigan

~1712

Bands of Potawatomi Settle at Fort Pontchartrain on Detroit River

1763

Detroit Potawatomi Leave Detroit and Migrate South and West

1765

Detroit Potawatomi Establish Village on Huron River | Become Known as Potawatomi of the Huron

1774

Potawatomi of the Huron Establish Another Village on the Salt Fork of the River Raisin | Village Called “Naudewine Sippy” or “Waudagon Sippy” (variants of “Nottawasepi) | They Also Set Up Villages on the Grand River Near Modern Day Eaton Rapids

1795

Treaty of Greenville | First Recognition as Sovereign Entity

1807

Treaty of Detroit | Eight Million Acres Ceded to U.S. Government for 1.2 Cents per Acre

1821

Treaty of Chicago | Nottawaseppi Reservation Established

1827

Treaty of St. Joseph | Nottawaseppi Reservation Enlarged

1830

The Indian Removal Act

1833

Treaty of Chicago | Nottawaseppi Reservation Extinguished

1838

Potawatomi "Trail of Death" | Neighboring Non-Pokagon Potawatomi Forced to Relocate to Kansas

1839

John Moguago Becomes Chief

1840

Huron Potawatomi Forced to Relocate to Kansas

1842

Huron Potawatomi Return to the Nottawasippe Prairie

1845

Purchase of Pine Creek Reservation (June 10th, 1845)

1845 - 1850

Methodist Missionary Activity | Impact on the Pine Creek Settlement

1863 - 1864

Death of Chief John Moguago | Phineas Pamptopee Becomes Chief

1889

Annuity Commutation | Establishment of East Indiantown

1900

Population at the Pine Creek Reservation Begins to Increase (Through 1930) Gradually

1904

Creation of Taggart Roll

1904 - 1918

Decline of East Indiantown

1914

Stephen Pamptopee Becomes Chief

1923

Rise of New Indiantown

1926

Samuel Mandoka Becomes Chief

1929 - 1939

Great Depression Begins | Many Residents Move Away from Pine Creek Reservation

1934

Death of Last Traditional Chief (Samual Mandoka)

1934

Indian Reorganization Act Signed; Leader of the Pine Creek Reservation (also referred to as "Indiantown"), Austin Mandoka, Receives Correspondence Confirming Huron Potawatomi are Eligible for Benefits of Indian Reorganization

1934

Leadership by Committee Begins

1939

Federal Government Ends IRA Reorganization Efforts in Lower Michigan | First Denial of Federal Reaffirmation

1939 - 1945

World War 2 | Indiantown Population Doubles

1950s

Pattern of Work Off the Pine Creek Reservation Grows

1960s

Tribal Members Living on Pine Creek Reservation Dwindles

1970

Formation of Huron Potawatomi, Inc. | Development of Modern Political Organization

1972

Second Attempt at Federal Reaffirmation | Difficulties with BIA Begin

1978

Federal Acknowledgment Process Created in Federal Regulations | Huron Potawatomi One of the First Tribes to Seek Reaffirmation of Government-to-Government Relations/Tribal Status Under this Process

1980s

Continued Difficulties with BIA for Federal Reaffirmation

1995

Federal Reaffirmation Achieved | A Major Turning Point in Tribal History

1999 - 2018

Improvements to the Pine Creek Reservation | Government Services Expand | New Land Purchased

1999

          155-Acres Purchased by Tribe

2000

          Administration Building Constructed

2004

          Road Construction Began

2005

          First Group of Single Family, Energy Efficient Homes Constructed on

          Reservation

2006

          Tribal Court Established

2007

          79 Acres Purchased in Emmet Township and Placed in Federal Trust |

          Home of FireKeepers Casino Hotel

2008

          Pine Creek Reservation Placed into Federal Trust | 86-Acres

          Purchased Adjacent to Pine Creek Reservation

2013

          LEED Certified Government Center Constructed | Department of

          Public Works Constructed | Health Care Center Expanded and LEED

          Certified

2014

          New Athens Indian Church Constructed

2015

          Community Center and Justice Center Renovated | Memorial Park

          Completed

2009

FireKeepers Casino Opens

2011

Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC) Formed

2012

FireKeepers Hotel Opens

2014

First WDC Independent Board of Directors Seated

2017

Terrapin Properties, LLC (A Subsidiary of WDC) Purchases First and Second Income Properties

2017

Waséyabek Federal Services, LLC Formed

 

Abbreviation / Acronym

Description

BAR

Branch of Acknowledgment and Research, Bureau of Indian Affairs (Evaluator of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi's Federal Reaffirmation Petition)

BIA

Bureau of Indian Affairs

COIA

Commissioner of Indian Affairs

HPI

Huron Potawatomi, Inc.

NHBP

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi

WDC

Waséyabek Development Company, LLC

1795 – Treaty of Greenville | First Recognition as Sovereign Entity

Figure 12. “The Signing of the Treaty of Greene Ville,” by H.C. Christy, 1945. [Oil-on-canvas]

Signed August 3rd, 1795, the Treaty of Greenville followed negotiations after the Native American loss at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. This defeat ended the ten-year-long Northwest Indian War and established the Greenville Treaty Line, which for many years became a boundary between territory that was acknowledged as remaining under the sovereign authority of various Native American tribes and had been ceded by tribes to the United States government that was open to European-American settlers.

The Native American tribes involved in this treaty ceded a significant area of modern-day Ohio, the future site of downtown Chicago, the Fort Detroit region, and the Maumee and lower Sandusky area in exchange for “a quantity of goods to the value of twenty thousand dollars,” including an annuity of $9,500 in goods to be divided into set proportions amongst each of the twelve tribes present at the signing (Kappler, 1904, p. 2). The goods that were offered as part of the annuity were “domestic animals, implements of husbandry [for agricultural purposes], and other utensils convenient for them” (Kappler, 1904, p. 2).

Native American leaders who signed the Treaty included chiefs of several Potawatomi bands, including Potawatomi Chief White Pigeon and Potawatomi Chief The Sun. Also signing the Treaty were leaders of the following tribes: Wyandot (Chiefs Tarhe, Leatherlips, and Roundhead), Delaware (Lenape; several bands), Shawnee (Chief Blue Jacket), Ottawa (several bands), Chippewa, Miami (Chief Little Turtle; several bands), Wea, Kickapoo, and Kaskaskia.

The United States government recognized the governmental/sovereign status of the Huron Potawatomi in multiple treaties during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the first being the Treaty of Greenville (1795).

While the Treaty of Greenville was intended as a Peace Treaty that protected Indian lands from incursions by settlers, it precipitated a 45-year period during which the Potawatomi Bands in lower Michigan ceded (sold) their land to the U.S. Government for as low as 1.2 cents per acre (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 247). The last of these treaties was the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, which authorized the forced relocation of the Potawatomi to Kansas by the U.S. Army.

Figure 13. Treaty of Greenville, Page 1. From “Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Ka,” 1795, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 1 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/299800). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Figure 14. Treaty of Greenville, Page 2. From “Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Ka,” 1795, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 2 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/299800). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Figure 15. Treaty of Greenville, Page 3. From “Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Ka,” 1795, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 3 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/299800). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

Figure 16. Potawatomi of Huron Signatures. From “Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Ka,” 1795, General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11, p. 3 (https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/299800). In the public domain, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.

References:

Christy, H. C. (1945). Signing of the Treaty of Green Ville [Oil-on-canvas].

Kappler, C. (Ed.). (1904). The Treaty of Greenville 1795. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties Vol II (Treaties). https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/greenvil.asp

Treaty of Greenville, August 3, 1795 (Ratified Indian Treaty #23, 7 STAT 49), between the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Ottawa, Chippewa, Potawatomie, Miami, Eel River, Wea, Kickapoo, Piankashaw, and Kaskaskia Tribes (Indian Treaties, 1789-1869). (1795). U.S. Government; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11. https://digitreaties.org/treaties/treaty/299800/

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

1940’s and 1950’s – World War II | Population of Indiantown Doubles

Figure 52. A Group of Tribal Youth on the Reservation,  ca. Early 1950’s. From Left to Right: Roger Day, Richard Bush, Henry Bush, Amos Day, Jr, Gordon Bush, Dawn Bush, and Cecil Day. Reprinted from “Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: A People in Progress,” by J. Rodwan & V. Anewishki, 2009, p. 31.

Some NHBP members joined the armed services during World War II, while others took jobs in urban industries. During these years, several men worked in factories in Battle Creek or Detroit; women also took industrial jobs (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 349).

By 1951, one clear indicator that the NHBP community had continued to exist after World War II was that the population at “Indiantown” had almost doubled since 1940; the community was still visible to outsiders (Leatherbury, 1977, p. 102; Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 351).

In an unidentified newspaper clipping entitled “Potawatomies Skilled Easter Basket Makers,” located at the Willard Library in Battle Creek, Michigan, and hand-dated March 25, 1951, Dan Ryan reported, “For the past few weeks, the Potawatomi living in the area known as ‘Indian Town’ south and east of Fulton have been in the midst of their biggest production period of the year” (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 351).

This article focused on Mary Mandoka and the basket makers’ use of black ash from swamps near Marshall and Dowagiac.

Every few months the Potawatomi men go to one of these swamps and cut down a load of straight ash logs. Each six-foot log costs them about 50 cents from the swamp owners. The logs are brought back to Indian Town and distributed among the 12 to 15 families residing there  (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 351).

Ryan then described in detail how the men and boys pounded the logs to obtain the strips; that Mary’s son Grover did the heavy work for her; that they colored their material by boiling the strips in kettles with dye; and that the women and youngsters did the weaving. In that specific season, Mary Mandoka made about 300 baskets for the Fulton school. Other buyers came from outside. The article also mentioned the reservation’s “tiny church with Potawatomi hymn books” (Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc., 1995, p. 351).

Figure 53. Photograph of a Potawatomi or Ojibwe Black Ash Basket, ca. Late 1800’s. Reprinted from Grand Rapids Public Museum Collections: Artifact: Large Basket [2017.16.35]. (n.d.). Native American-Woodland Gallery (https://www.grpmcollections.org/Detail/objects/176768).

References:

Grand Rapids Public Museum Collections: Artifact: Large Basket [2017.16.35]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Native American-Woodland Gallery. Retrieved from https://www.grpmcollections.org/Detail/objects/176768

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

Rodwan, J., & Anewishki, V. (2009). Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi: A People in Progress. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Environmental Department.

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

2011 – Waséyabek Development Company Formed

Figure 70. Photograph of the Waséyabek Development Company Headquarters in Downtown Grand Rapids, by F. N. Ruffer, 2018.

 Waséyabek Development Company, LLC (WDC) is a 100% Tribally-owned holding company that manages the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi’s non-gaming economic development activities. By fostering the development of a stable, diversified economy for members of the Band, WDC seeks to contribute to the Tribe’s long-term sustainability and economic self-sufficiency by providing revenue and diverse employment opportunities for Tribal Members. The need to diversify Tribal economies is well established, as are successful strategies.

Nation-building and Tribal community expansion are supported by revenue generated through the profitable operation of WDC’s subsidiary companies, which have the added benefit of boosting the economies of the communities in which they are located. Our strategy includes a phased approach of active investments with businesses operating in the commercial and federal sectors.

“Our economic development organization is based on a proven model called the ‘Harvard Project Model’ developed 29 years ago and utilized today by those Tribes who are most successful at implementing economic diversification,” said WDC President and CEO, Deidra Mitchell. “The study can be broadly summarized by saying that Sovereignty Matters, Institutions Matter, Culture Matters, and Leadership Matters.”

(For more information on the Harvard Project, go to http://hpaied.org/about/overview.)

Many Tribes have experienced exponential economic growth because of gaming. The resulting revenues have been a valuable resource to assist Tribes in turning their community’s wealth (people, land, culture, ideas, and initiatives) into Tribal government policies and practices that sustain the health and well-being of current and future generations. However, even during the early years of Indian gaming, dialogue began among Tribal leaders regarding the wisdom of singular and long-term dependence on gaming.

Time has passed, and these conversations have acted as a foretelling: Increased competition from non-Indian gaming enterprises, over-saturation of the national gaming market, increased regulatory requirements, online gaming, and public concern over gambling addiction have placed ever-increasing pressure on Indian gaming.

Because of these concerns, WDC was organized in May 2011, and Tribal Council began a search for qualified Waséyabek Board Members in 2013. In 2014, the Board was seated and began conducting business to diversify the Tribe’s economy.

Today, Waséyabek Development Company, LLC continues to build the infrastructure needed to support economic diversification efforts with people, procedures, and equipment; strengthen its financial position by evaluating the viability of current business holdings; and identify and evaluate businesses for potential purchase or investment. In keeping with the philosophy of the Tribe, WDC evaluates its investments, acquisitions, and partnerships with an eye towards supporting the next Seven Generations.

References:

Mitchell, D. (2016). Why Waséyabek? Turtle Press, 7(July 2016), p. 34.

2009-2017 – FireKeepers Casino and Hotel

Figure 69. FireKeepers Casino and Hotel, by JCJ Architecture, ca. 2021.

2008

  • NHBP secures bond financing for the development of FireKeepers Casino. NHBP’s FireKeepers Casino offering is the only casino project – tribal or commercial – to receive funding before the financial collapse.

2009

  • After more than ten years of planning, strategy, and vision, the NHBP opened the doors to FireKeepers Casino on August 5, 2009. FireKeepers features a 111,700-square foot gaming floor with 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, multiple restaurants and lounges, a live poker room, and a bingo room. This $300 million project created a unique gaming destination in the Midwest while initially generating 1,500 jobs for the local community.

2011

  • On March 1, 2011, FireKeepers Casino broke ground on a major expansion. This initiative included a 242 room, 8-story resort-style hotel, conference rooms/event center, and expanded Bingo room. During this construction phase, the tribe’s commitment to local spending resulted in awarding contracts that totaled more than $25 million to the State of Michigan.

2012

  • As a result of very conservative management of casino revenues, NHBP is able to commit over $90 Million in revenues to receive approval of loans to re-finance high-interest bonds (reducing the interest rate from 13.87% to 3.25%) and also buys out the term of the contract with its external management company, giving NHBP control over its casino operations.
  • FireKeepers Hotel opened its doors to the public on December 12, 2012. The expansion showcases a 243-room resort-style hotel featuring 26 suites, complete with an indoor pool, exercise facility, a full-service restaurant called Smoke ‘n Fire, and a business center. The addition also features a functional multi-purpose event center capable of seating up to 2,000 guests as a concert venue. When not used as a concert venue for superstar performers, the versatile space can accommodate banquets, corporate meetings, trade shows, and other events. This expansion brought 300 additional jobs to the Battle Creek area.

2016

  • On November 1, 2016, FireKeepers introduced a convenience store and gas station called “FireKeepers Pit Stop,” with an attached car wash adjacent to the casino.

2017

On April 19, 2017, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined the NHBP Tribal Council along with a large contingent of elected officials and key Michigan business partners to commemorate the grand opening of The Fire Hub Restaurant and Kendall Street Pantry. The Fire Hub is a unique, multi-million-dollar casino community reinvestment housed in a restored historic city firehouse. FireKeepers Casino directly purchased, redeveloped, and created a downtown restaurant concept, plus an adjacent food pantry to help end food insecurity for individuals and households in the Battle Creek area by providing two to three days worth of food, once per month. The pantry is set up as a choice pantry, allowing each client the opportunity to select the food needed and wanted. Eighty percent of the profits will be pooled to benefit local charities, while twenty percent will provide maintenance capital dollars. Another central element of the project is the development of nearby tribal lands to farm and grow vegetables, with a goal of delivering a free salad bar to students in area communities.

“It’s very exciting to celebrate the grand opening after nearly a year of construction. This is the culmination of our plan to simultaneously create a successful restaurant product and help the community in an impactful way,” stated Michael McFarlen, FireKeepers Vice President of Food and Beverage and Fire Hub visionary. “We’re going to use The Fire Hub as an instrument to extinguish hunger in Battle Creek.”

Conditions on the reservation have improved immeasurably because of the FireKeepers Casino’s success.

“We always say it’s been rags to riches because it’s been less than ten years since the Pine Creek Reservation still had a dirt road and it was isolated, and we still had shacks and issues with running water and inadequate electric service and an elder still chopping wood for heat,” Vice-Chairperson of Tribal Council Dorie Rios said. “Now you come out on the ‘rez,’ and we have beautiful homes. We have fiber optics, new sewer, and water systems, a health clinic, a community center – in less than ten years! It’s just amazing. I’ve been through this whole process, and I still can’t believe it.”

The casino has provided the means to build the tribal nation, provide for its members and the community as a whole, she said. In addition to providing jobs and economic development in the area, the casino has paid $58 million to the State of Michigan and donated $21.9 million to the FireKeepers Local Revenue Sharing Board since 2009, both as part of the Band’s compact.

In August 2014, FireKeepers Casino Hotel surpassed $250 million in cumulative paid labor costs that include: Total wages, health insurance, 401(k), and incentives to the 1,700 full and part-time team members since opening. The Tribe’s commitment to local spending has resulted in awarding contracts of more than $93.1 million across the state since opening.

“In addition, the work that the Tribe is doing with economic development to diversify into different business platforms is a great springboard into the future, and I am looking forward to assisting and being a part of the future,” FireKeepers Casino Hotel CEO Kathy George said.

References:

FireKeepers Casino Hotel. (2021a). Our Story. Firekeepers Casino Hotel. https://firekeeperscasino.com/about/our-story/

FireKeepers Casino Hotel. (2021b). Tower II Grand Opening Celebration [Photograph]. https://firekeeperscasino.com/casino/promotions/promotions/tower-ii-grand-opening-celebration/

JCJ Architecture. (2021). FireKeepers Casino and Hotel. https://firekeeperscasino.com/hotel/tower-ii-development/

Toensing, G. C. (2014, November 18). From Dirt Roads to Fiber Optics: FireKeepers Hits the Jackpot. Indian Country Today. https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/from-dirt-roads-to-fiber-optics-firekeepers-hits-the-jackpot