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INGIDENOUS HISTORY AND GENEALOGY

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Alpena County, as it is now known, has a rich history of indigenous migration, settlement, and hunting. During a surveyor expedition, David D. Oliver (b. 1814 d.1908) encountered Chief Mich-e-ke-wis (b. Unknown d.1853), one of the leaders of the area’s indigenous population. Prior to Oliver’s arrival, other white business people had attempted to settle in the area but were reportedly chased away by the local indigenous peoples, who were known to have pro-British sentiments. Although written records are scarce, some of the earliest accounts of indigenous peoples in the region date back to Minavavana’s speech in 1763.

The Treaty of Washington D.C. feature graphic

The Treaty of Washington D.C. (1836) and the Treaty of Saginaw (1819) played a crucial role in the formation of Michigan becoming a state and for the beginning of Alpena, then the village of Fremont. To learn more about the treaties click on this link. Map courtesy of the Michigan History Center

ONLINE RESOURCES

Maawndoonganan- Anishinaabe Resource Manual

  • An Anishinaabe Resource Manual meant to accompany the State of Michigan Social Studies Standards.

University of Michigan Indigenous Resources 

  • Highlights resources about Indigenous Peoples, and the focus is on communities Indigenous to Turtle Island (North America)

Tracing Indigenous Heritage

  • The State of Michigan has available an online directory of organizations best suited for tracing indigenous heritage.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Records: Michigan

  • This guide lists tribes and bands in each state, along with BIA offices that had jurisdictional relationships with them.

Clarke Historical Library Native American Material

  • The Clarke Historical Library has the most complete collection in the state regarding Michigan’s indigenous peoples. They have many online resources vital to researching indigenous genealogy and history.

GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL RESOURCES

Finding Aids

Haltiner Collection HC14: Native American, 1836–1980

Haltiner Collection HC15: Native American periodicals, 1942–2004

Haltiner Collection HC16: Alpena County Native American, 1880–2004

Alpena News ANC15: Subject

Books

Blackbird, Andrew. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan. 1887

Bowen, Jeff. Native American Wills and Probate Records. 1911–1921

  • These records span the period 1911 to 1921 and pertain to indigenous families living in the Plans and several western States. 

Carter, Kent. The Dawes Commission and the Allotment of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1893-1914. 1998

Haltiner, Robert. Stories the Red People Have Told. 2002

  • This book retells the lore and history of the Thunder Bay area indigenous peoples of northeastern Lower Michigan. Stories were gathered by both Gerald Haltiner and his son Robert Haltiner, a local historian during the 20th century.

Lantz, Ramond. Potawatomi Indians of Michigan: 1843-1904. 1992

Lantz, Ramond. Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan: 1855-1868. 1993

Lantz, Ramond. Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan: 1870-1909. 1991

Otto, Simon. Aube Na Bing: a Pictorial History of Michigan Indians. 1988

Prevost, Toni J. Indians from New York in Ontario and Quebec, Canada: Wisconsin and Elsewhere: A Genealogy Reference. 1995

Tanner, Helen H. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. 1987

  • This publication can be used to better understand Northern and Northeastern Michigan indigenous history and populations prior to Alpena becoming a lumber town in the 1850s.

Vogel, Virgil J. Indian Names in Michigan. 1986

  • Vogel examines the roots of numerous Indian names throughout Michigan.

Warren, William W. History of the Ojibway People. 1984

Periodicals

Friends of Steiner Museum. Wilderness Chronicle Magazine. 1985–2013

  • A Northeastern Lower Michigan-specific series of magazines that cover a range of history topics from early pioneers to indigenous people.

Michigan History Magazine. 1919–current

  • This series of magazine covers a wide range of Michigan-related history. Indexes are available in the Alpena History Room (AHR) to preview titles and subjects.

Haltiner Collection of Periodicals

  • The collection contains a number of Michigan-specific periodicals related to the indigenous history and archaeological findings.

Manuscripts

Gruett, Philip. Indian Family History Collection, 1868 (Binder Copy)

  • This record contains approximately 376 pages related to the indigenous peoples of eastern lower Michigan and their family groups. An index created by James Donaldson in 1996 for the Clarke Historical Library is also available.

National Archives. Native American Genealogy: Alpena & Oscoda Areas. 1750s–1850s

LOCAL TRIBES