Hannahville Indian Community
The Hannahville Indian Community is a federally recognized Potawatomi Indian tribe residing in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, approximately 15 miles west of Escanaba. The reservation, at , lies mostly in Harris Township in eastern Menominee County, but a small part is located in northeastern Gourley Township, also in Menominee County, and another in Bark River Township in adjacent southwestern Delta County. The 2000 census reported a resident population of 395 persons within its territory, most of whom were of Native American heritage. The tribe had an enrolled membership of 666 people, 344 of whom resided on the 8.5755 sq mi (22.21 km²) reservation as of early 2006. According to the 1990 Census of Population and Housing for Michigan, the per capita income for the Hannahville community in 1989 was $4,625, whereas the per capita for the state of Michigan was $14,154. Today they are one of the most prosperous in Michigan.
They lived with the Menominee in Northern Wisconsin, and the Ojibwe and Ottawa people in Canada. In 1853, some returned to Michigan. It was at this time they settled along the Big Cedar River, on Lake Michigan.
Methodist Church records report that Peter Marksman was sent to the area as an assistant. During this time, he was credited with finding a parcel of land and moving the Potawatomi people to the current location. Some church records also report the Potawatomi people were very fond of Marksman's wife, Hannah, and named their community after her.
The first designation of this area as specifically Potawatami land was done by the federal government in 1870.
In December 1966 linemen from the Alger-Delta Cooperative Electric Association of Gladstone, MI began the task of running electrical lines from the Harris area (ie. West U.S. 2) onto the Hannahville Indian Reservation, a distance of approximately five miles. The cable installation was completed on Dec. 23, 1966.
After this task was completed a team of 40 volunteer electricians from throughout the state began wiring 16 homes to receive electricity. All 40 electricians were members of the International Brotherhood of Electricians. The 16 homes were completed and ready for “flipping the switch” late that evening.
In 1966 the union scale for electricians was $10 per hour for Saturday work. This would have been $400 per hour for the crew of 40 totaling $4,000 for the day’s work.
On Dec. 23, 1966 at 3 p.m. EST a small handful of local county officials and community members watched as “hotlines” were activated at Hannahville for the first time.
he “Lights for Christmas Project,” was a multi-agency sponsored effort. Agencies involved included the Upper Peninsula Committee for Area Progress (UPCAP), the Community Action Agency, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Marquette Catholic Diocese.
The $6,000 abandonment deposit required earlier in the year by the Alger-Delta Cooperative Electric Association was donated by the Marquette Catholic Diocese. In addition, each of the 16 households to receive electricity were required to pay the Cooperative membership fee of $5. The request for the abandonment deposit was based on the pending Bureau of Indian Affairs housing project in Hannahville. If these new homes were not constructed in the area of the existing homes there was the possibility that the electric lines would be abandoned.
Approximately 100 additional members live nearby and access services on the Reservation. The 12-member Tribal Council is an elected body that has been empowered by the community, through the election process, to act on behalf of the tribal members. Throughout the past ten years, the Tribe has been committed to developing environmental protection programs to ensure a healthy and safe environment for current and future generations.
- Hannahville Community and Off-Reservation Trust Land, Michigan United States Census Bureau
- U.S. Department of Commerce. 1990 Census of Population and Housing, Michigan. Issued May 1992. Hannahville p. 396, Michigan p. 238.
- Bruce Vandervort. Indian Wars of Mexico, Canada and the United States, 1812-1900. Routledge, 2006.
- Walter Romig, Michigan Place Names, p. 250
- Official Tribe website
- Potawatomi Language Vocabulary, Audio & Video, Interactive Language Games, Online Language Courses
- Hannahville Indian School - Nah Tah Wahsh PSA
- Recollections of Earl J. Meshigaud, Sr.
- Inter-tribal Council of Michigan's information on the Hannahville Potawatomi