After 30 years of advocacy, bill would federally recognize tribe
LANSING – The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians today applauded Michigan congressional delegation members who introduced the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians Restoration Act of 2023, in the U.S. House of Representatives that, if passed, will grant the tribe federal recognition.
“On behalf of the Grand River Bands, I thank the Michigan congressional delegation members who co-sponsored this bill that will help us finally achieve our long-stated goal of federal recognition after three decades of administrative delays by the broken federal acknowledgment process,” said Ron Yob, chairman of the Grand River Bands. “We will pursue every possible avenue to achieve our recognition and provide long-awaited justice to our members. We are honored that we are joined in this important fight by a bi-partisan majority of the Michigan congressional delegation, community organizations, other tribes and West Michigan residents who have been unwavering in their support.”
U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Grand Rapids) sponsored the bill with U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar other bi-partisan members of the Michigan congressional delegation. The bill would reaffirm and clarify the status of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians as a federally recognized tribe.
The Grand River Bands have advocated for federal recognition for nearly 30 years through the federal acknowledgment process. Federal recognition will allow tribal members to access critical resources such as tuition, health care and housing assistance, among many others.
The tribe is still working diligently to provide additional documentation of their history for the U.S. Department of the Interior and remains able to pursue that administrative process for their recognition while the bill is pending. Multiple other Michigan tribes have achieved federal recognition through acts of Congress, including the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, that have nearly identical histories to those of the Grand River Bands.
Members of the Grand River Bands are descendants of the signatories of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville; the 1807 Treaty of Detroit; the 1821 Treaty of Chicago; the 1836 Treaty of Washington (D.C.) and the 1855 Treaty of Detroit. Multiple other treaty tribes in Michigan have been federally recognized while the Grand River Bands continue to await federal status.