On July 3rd, the anniversary of the Battle of Great Meadows, 18 members of the Little Traverse Bay Bands (LTBB) of the Odawa Indians traveled from their homes in Northern Michigan to Southwestern Pennsylvania. They made the journey to help the National Park Service open a year-long exhibit, “Zhimaagnishak Miikaanhs: The Odawa Warriors’ Journey to Fort Necessity,” to commemorate the tribe’s participation in the Fort Necessity story. The band sided with the French forces that defeated George Washington’s troops in 1754.
Over 500 people attended the opening, which included samples of traditional foods of the LTBB Odawa people and demonstrations by tribal members of ancestral skills such as pottery making, flint knapping, black ash basket weaving, finger weaving, and quill work. This art work is still a part of the modern Odawa culture.
A newly-produced map that shows the historic tribal land was unveiled and will be part of the exhibit. The artifacts displayed, including items from archeological sites and contemporary artwork, illustrate the warriors’ tools along with the common items used by the LTBB Odawa people in the Great Lakes region. The exhibit was done in cooperation with the LTBB Odawa and Fort Michilimackinac.
The goal of this ongoing partnership with the LTBB Odawa, and other nations as well, is to give visitors the opportunity to better understand the causes and effects of the French and Indian War. It will also focus on the untold stories of the Odawa and the part they played in the conflict as well as the chance to learn more about their modern culture.