One of the many things I love about my job is the opportunity to research my home, the Great Lakes. I did this before, but now I have more opportunity and resources. Being an Odawa man, I naturally have an interest in what Odawa men were doing hundreds of years before. It’s valuable to learn what different roles people played in a community. Not all men were warriors, some were more hunters and fishermen. But the common thread between all these ancient Odawa was everybody did their part to sustain the community. I like to think the work my department is doing now, the Anishnaabek who have passed on are saying amongst themselves “they are doing something for the community”.
The Great Lakes has such a fascinating history, some of the wars that played out here really changed the course of American history. War chiefs like Pontiac(Odawa) and Tecumshe(Shawnee) are some of the most well-known Indian leaders but little is known about why they were at war and the consequences of their actions. Each inventory I look over for remains from Michigan, I wonder about the history of these people we are trying to repatriate. What were their lives like? What difficulties did they face? The remains from the historic period, the huge changes these people had to make in order to survive. In the end, these people passed on the blood line of being Anishnaabek. We recognize this and try to honor that by repatriating them.