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The Ottawa Indians 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 Indians and are thus related to the Delaware Indians, the Miami Indians, and the Shawnee Indians. They were enemies of the Iroquois Indians and never really trusted the Wyandot Indians 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 Indians. In 1763, he led a number of Indian 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 Indians 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 Indians to make peace.
During the American Revolution, the Ottawas fought for the British against the Americans. When the British surrendered to the Americans, the English turned their backs on their Indian allies. The Ottawas continued to fight the Americans.
General Anthony Wayne defeated the Ottawas and other Ohio Indians 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.