Sen. Hollier urges justice for Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians

Hollier urges governor to continue support of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians 

DATE: Friday, June 10, 2022

LANSING Michigan Sen. Adam Hollier has joined other state and U.S. lawmakers urging support for the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians and in its petition for federal recognition.  

In a letter, Hollier, a Detroit Democrat who is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma, urged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to support justice for the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians. 

“I would respectfully request you support the efforts of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians for federal recognition and protect their ancestral homelands,” Hollier wrote. “My own tribe serves as a reminder of the injustices the federal government has inflicted on Indian people.”  

In the 1830s, the Muscogee Creek people, over 14,000 of Hollier’s ancestors, were forcibly removed from their homelands in what is known as the Trail of Tears. Thousands of Native American people lost their lives as they were forced westward. The effort was supported by Lewis Cass, then governor of the Michigan Territory.  

While recognized by the state of Michigan, the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians has been working to gain federal recognition for nearly three decades. While on its last step to gaining federal recognition, the petition was further delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of the Interior announced earlier this year that it will issue its “proposed findings” on the Grand River Bands’ petition by Oct. 12. 

“On behalf of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, we thank State Sen. Hollier for his support and applaud him for adding his voice to the long list of state and federal leaders calling for federal recognition for our tribe, which is long overdue,” said Ron Yob, chairman of the Grand River Bands. 

Federal recognition would allow the Grand River Bands to access resources that are only afforded to federally recognized tribes such as tuition, health care and housing assistance. The Grand River Bands have also launched digital ads and billboards in the Lansing area as part of the campaign. 

The full text of the letter is available here. 

# # # 

The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians is a native sovereign nation with agreements with the federal government dating back to 1795. The Grand River Bands originally included 19 bands of Ottawa people who lived along the Grand River and other waterways in southwest Michigan. Most of the Grand River Bands’ current membership residents in Kent, Muskegon and Oceana counties.