This post continues my ongoing blog series that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated across the country. This series of acknowledgements is a simple way to offer our recognition and respect to the people who once lived on these lands.
The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The park between the museum and the river was first known as Bicentennial Park but had its name changed later to Ah Nab Awen Park. Ah Nab Awen means “resting place”, and the faux burial mounds represent the mound-building culture groups (Hopewell culture) that populated the area during the pre-Columbian period. Actual mounds still can be found along the river bank. The final resting place of President Ford and Betty Ford are opposite the park on the Museum grounds.
The land on which the Museum is situated was later occupied by the Odawa and Peoria peoples. A mill was established as European settlers moved in during the 1830s and 1840s. As the town and industry grew, factories moved to the right bank of the Grand River. That is the arrangement Ford was familiar with in his youth.
Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now.
My thanks to Lauren White, Archivist, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Kristin Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist, and Don Holloway, Curator (retired), Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, for the research, photographs, maps and information they provided for this post.
For additional information:
- Peoria Tribe: https://peoriatribe.com/culture/
- Michigan Odawa History Project: https://turtletalk.blog/resources/grand-traverse-band-history-project/
- “Native Americans” LibGuide, Grand Valley State University (with land acknowledgement): https://libguides.gvsu.edu/natamericans/home
- Tract Books Relating to Kaskaskia, Peoria, Piankeshaw, Wea, and Iowa Trust Lands, 1857: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/2067712
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Records (Michigan): https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/bia-guide/michigan.html
- Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan. http://www.itcmi.org
- Federally Recognized Tribes in Michigan: https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-73971_7209-216627–,00.html
- Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians: https://ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/
- Little River Band of Ottawa Indians: https://lrboi-nsn.gov/
- Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians: http://www.gtbindians.org/
- American Indians at University of Michigan group webpage: http://umich.edu/~aium/about.html
- The Indians of Washtenaw County, Michigan. 1927 http://name.umdl.umich.edu/3933309.0001.001
- “The Ojibwe,” Michigan State University – Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. https://project.geo.msu.edu/geogmich/ojibwe.html
- History of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians: https://www.petoskeyarea.com/media/area-history/odawa-indians/
- Pokagon Band of Potawatomi: https://www.pokagonband-nsn.gov/
- For a Brief History of the Odawa, see https://peoriatribe.com/history/
- Michigan DNR: Telling Michigan’s Anishinaabe History