1855 : Andrew Jackson Blackbird Helps Negotiate Treaty With Ottawa and Chippewa

July 31, 2018 all-day

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When the “Treaty With The Ottawa and Chippewa” was signed on July 31, 1855, Andrew Jackson Blackbird served as an interpreter, translator and official witness for the Native Americans.

Andrew J. Blackbird (c.1815 – 1908), an important figure in the history of the Odawa (Ottawa) tribe, was the son of a chief. Educated in the traditions of the Odawam he also attended Euro-American schools including present-day Eastern Michigan University. Blackbird bought a home in Harbor Srpings around 1858, when the town was inhabited mostly by Odawa people. From here he ran the post office and wrote a history of the Odawa.

As a councilor for the Odawa he participated in the negotiations for the Treaty of 1855, which established a large home reservation for the Odawa in this area. Blackbird also helped Odawa veterans get pensions, and assisted with land claims. This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Andrew Jackson Blackbird Home State Historical Marker

Andrew Blackbird entry in wikipedia.

Blackbird, Andrew J. Complete both early and late history of the Ottawa and Cheppewa Indians of Michigan : a grammar of their language, personal and family history of the author. Harbor Springs, Michigan : Babcock and Darling, 1897. Available in the Library of Michigan Rare Book Room.

Blackbird, Andrew J. History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan; a grammar of their language, and personal and family history
Ypsilanti, Michigan : Ypsilanti Job Printing House, 1887. The book covers not only historical facts, but day-to-day details of how the Ottawa and Ojibwa hunted, fished and trapped before the coming of the whites. Blackbird explains many of the traditional beliefs and cultural practices of the two tribes. Because the author was himself a Native American, the book is free of the bias commonly found in books by white authors of the period.
Finally, the book includes a basic grammar of the Ottawa and Ojibwa languages.

Blackbird, Andrew J.. The Indian problem, from the Indian’s standpoint Ypsilanti, Michigan : Scharf Tag, Label & Box Co., 1900.

Blackbird’s Song : Andrew J. Blackbird and the Odawa People / Thodore J. Karamanski. East Lansing, MI : Michigan State University Press, 2012.

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