Ottawa Indians

Revision as of 13:51, 10 March 2015 by Sback (Talk | contribs)

Revision as of 13:51, 10 March 2015 by Sback (Talk | contribs)

OHS AL02674.jpg
Reproduction of a print depicting Pontiac, a chief of the Ottawa tribe. He united a coalition of Native American tribes to resist British rule in the Great Lakes region and Ohio Valley, leading an unsuccessful siege on Fort Detroit known as "Pontiac's Rebellion" from 1763 to 1764.

The Ottawa natives originally lived along the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and western Quebec at the time of European arrival in the early 1600s. They moved into northern Ohio around 1740. They were part of the Algonquian natives and are thus related to the Delaware natives, the Miami natives, and the Shawnee natives. They were enemies of the Iroquois natives and never really trusted the Wyandot natives because they were related to the Iroquois.

Political alliances were complicated and changed with the times. Some Ottawas were allies of the French until British traders moved into the Ohio Country in the early 1700s. Many Ottawas moved into northern Ohio so that they could participate in the fur trade with the British. These natives lived in villages along the Cuyahoga, Maumee, and Sandusky Rivers, but the British were not content just to trade. Unlike the French, the British wanted to build forts and towns.

Pontiac was a famous leader of the Ottawa natives. In 1763, he led a number of Native American tribes in an attempt to drive the British from their lands. They destroyed nine out of eleven British forts in the Great Lakes region. The Native Americans could not defeat the strong British forts at Detroit (Fort Detroit) and Pittsburgh (Fort Pitt). Pontiac’s Rebellion came to an end after Colonel Henry Bouquet led a large army from Fort Pitt into Ohio to force the Native Americans to make peace.

During the American Revolution, the Ottawas fought for the British against the Americans. When the British surrendered to the Americans, the British turned their backs on their Native American allies. The Ottawas continued to fight the Americans.

General Anthony Wayne defeated the Ottawas and other Ohio natives at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. They surrendered most of their lands in Ohio with the signing of the Treaty of Greeneville (1795).

In 1833 the United States forced the Ottawas to give up their few remaining lands in Ohio. The United States government sent them to a reservation in Kansas.

See Also


  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.