What were the main bands or tribes of Indians (Native Americans) that inhabited the Great Lakes region at the time of European settlement?  Three tribes in particular, the Chippewa (Ojibwa), Ottawa and the Potawatomi, dominated the Michigan region.  These three tribes were peaceful and generally got along with each other well, hence the name given to their loose alliance:  the "Three Brothers".  They all had ties to the Algonquin culture, and hence shared many commonalties in language as well.
    The Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa are all believed to have descended from an older Chippewa stock, whose original base was north and northeast of Lake Superior. The Miami also are supposed to have split off from the Chippewa, but much earlier than the Ottawa and Potawatomi. Separated into different tribes, the three dominant nations still maintained cordial relations with one another, even boasting a kind of intertribal council; this probably accounts for the fact that few, if any, great battles were fought in prehistoric Michigan.

The map below shows that many place names in the US and Michigan are derived from Indian languages and culture.  In fact, the names of 38 of the 83 counties in Michigan have ties to Indians.  The map below provides some information on that topic, since it lists some Indian place names still found today in the USA.

indian-tribal-placenames.jpg (209660 bytes)

Source:  Unknown

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