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Brief History of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribal Culture

While current tribal land is concentrated near the cities of Mt. Pleasant and Pinconning, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe originally lived, hunted, fished and traded in southern and Midwestern areas of what is today's State of Michigan. The Tribe also occasionally lived in some parts of what is now Canada.

Treaties between the young American government and the Saginaw bands began in the late 1700s and continued into the 1800s. Each treaty allowed less and less land base for the Tribe's normal pursuits until, finally, in 1837, all remaining land was gone. In 1855, the bands of Saginaw, Swan Creek and Black River were removed by Treaty to the Chippewa Township, Deerfield Township, Denver Township, Isabella Township, Nottawa Township, Union Township, and Wise Township. In 1864, the Saginaw lands were ceded, with all Tribal members offered land in Sweat Lodge Isabella County. The land was allotted individually to members rather than to the Tribe as a whole. Many tribal members settled in this area, and their descendants continue to live here to this day.

In the 1930s, the Tribe needed to be reorganized under the federal Indian Reorganization Act, becoming the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Through the years, remaining tribal in nature, the land housed the Mt. Pleasant Indian School for children of tribal ancestry in Michigan. Many of today's tribal members have ancestors who were educated there. Many others were educated at Carlisle Indian School, and Haskell Institute.

Today's proud Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe works with the greater Central Michigan area to promote education and programs not only for the Indians of the area, but for all community members. The Tribe works to further the progress of other Indian Nations as well by working through state and federal legislation. Being located in the middle of Michigan, where they have lived for over 100 years, and close to their historic land base, the members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe remain uniquely focused on the present and future, while still remembering the past.