October 11th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native Americans, commemorating their history and culture. In 1977 the participants at the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas – a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva, Switzerland on discrimination against indigenous populations in the Americas – proposed that the Indigenous Peoples’ Day replace Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day now reimagines Columbus Day – changing from a celebration of colonialism into an opportunity to reveal the history of the genocide and oppression of indigenous people in the Americas.
Michigan is home to a total of twelve federally acknowledged Native American tribes. “Federally acknowledged” tribes are not merely organizations of citizens who happen to be of Native American descent, but are sovereign governments that exercise direct jurisdiction over their members and territory. Tribal governments provide a wide array of government services to their members including lawmaking, tribal police and court systems, health and education services, and more. The state generally does not have legal authority over tribal governments and tribal members when they are inside the tribe’s territory. Instead, the state interacts with the tribes on a government-to-government basis through agreements on a variety of subjects like treaty fishing rights, taxation, water quality issues, economic development, and casino gambling.
The tribal governments in Michigan are:
- Bay Mills Chippewa Indian Community
- Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
- Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community
- Huron Potawatomi-Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi
- Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
- Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
- Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
- Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
- Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan
- Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
- Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
- Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians