2019: Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians Lose Attempt to Create Federal Reservation

August 15, 2022 all-day

A federal judge in Kalamazoo has ruled against an Indian tribe who claimed that a pair of historical treaties gave the tribe sovereignty over 337 square miles of land and 103 miles of shoreline in northern Michigan.

In a lawsuit filed against the state of Michigan in 2015, the Little Traverse Band of Odawa Indians said treaties signed in 1836 and 1855 created a reservation encompassing most of Emmet County, part of Charlevoix County, as well as the cities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs and Good Hart.

If established, the area would be the largest Indian reservation in Michigan.

But in an Aug. 15 opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney said the tribe’s interpretation of the treaties was incorrect. He said the tribe’s argument did not provide a “cohesive interpretation” of the treaty, and instead isolated “particular phrases” to suggest that tribal members were to receive reservations.

Source: “Judge rules against tribe’s push to make Petoskey area Michigan’s largest Indian reservation“, MLive, August 20, 2019.