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Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians responds to federal recognition findings

Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians
Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians

The Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, or GRB, continues its pursuit of federal recognition. It has submitted a response to the U.S Department of the Interior over proposed findings

In February 2023, the U.S. Department of Interior found that the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians did not provide adequate proof securing federal recognition. That federal recognition allows tribal members access to resources such as tuition, health care and housing assistance.

The GRB recently provided a 148-page response to those findings, sharing what it says is comprehensive and indisputable evidence why the tribe should be reaffirmed. Among those reasons are multiple treaties executed between the two parties in 1821, 1836 and 1855.

Ronald Yob is chairman of the GRB. He says the evidence speaks for itself.

“When they took the land, we were recognized. When they came and got our children to go to the boarding school, they were recognized. When they had land settlements, we were recognized.”

The GRB says similar evidence earned federal recognition for other Michigan tribes such as the Gun Lake Tribe and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

Yob says the discussions are 30 years in the making and hopes the evidence provided will reestablish a government-to-government relationship between the U.S and the tribe.

“It’s like a tennis game and we just send the ball back to them, so there’s nothing we can do right now except to just wait for their volley back.”

There is no timeframe for the Department of the Interior to respond.

Dave joined WGVU Public Media in November of 2023 after eighteen years as a Michigan Association of Broadcasters Emmy-nominated photojournalist and editor at Grand Rapids' WOOD TV8 and three years at WEYI TV25 in Flint, Michigan. As a General Assignment Reporter, Dave covers daily news and community events all over West Michigan.
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