Acknowledging our History: The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan

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 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, in Ann Arbor, is situated on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabeg peoples, including the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi.

Photograph of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is situated on the ancestral lands of the Odawa and Peoria peoples.

Photograph of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Museum is the Triangle shape in the picture above from https://native-land.ca/

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.

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