Ottawa Indian Divisions

In the latter part of the 17th century the Ottawa tribe consisted of 4, possibly 5, divisions. It is repeatedly stated that there were 4 bands, and no greater number is ever mentioned, yet 5 names are given, as follows:

  1. Kishkakon
  2. Sinago
  3. Keinouche
  4. Nassauaketon
  5. Sable

La Mothe Cadillac says there were 4 bands 1:

  1. Kiskakon
  2. Sinago
  3. Sable
  4. Nassauaketon

Outaoutiboy, chief of the Ottawa, speaking at the conference with Gov. de Callidres, Sept. 3, 1700, said: “I speak in the name of the four Outaouais nations, to wit: The Outaouaes of the Sable, the Outaouaes Sinago, the Kiskakons, and the people of the Fork” (Nassawaketon). In addition to these chief divisions there were minor local bands, as Blanchard’s Fork, Kajienatroene, Maskasinik, Negaouichirinicuek, Niscak, Ommunise, Otontagan, Talon, and Thunder Bay. Chauvignerie in 1736 distinguished the Ottawa of Grand River, Lake Nipissing, Michilimackinac, Detroit, and Saginaw. According to Morgan the names of the Ottawa gentes are unknown, but Chauvignerie in 1736 mentioned the bear, otter, gray squirrel, and black squirrel as the totems of different bands of the tribe.

According to Charlevoix the Ottawa signed with a hare the provisional treaty concluded at Montreal in 1700. At the great conference on the Maumee in 1793 they signed with the otter totem. In Tanner’s Narrative is given a list of 18 totems among the Ottawa and Chippewa, but there is nothing to indicate which are Ottawa and which Chippewa.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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  1. Verwyst, Mississippi Labors, 210, 1886[]

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