The Ottawans, Algonkian, Algonquian
Ottawa People History and Culture, The Origin, beyond Canada. The Ottawans, Algonkian, Algonquian. Some Americans do not think of the Ottawa as an important tribe. There were never very many of them, and their culture language was almost identical to the more-numerous Ojibwe and Potawatomi. Between 1615 and 1763, the Ottawa were one of the most important tribes in North America, but their homeland was remote to the British colonies on the Atlantic seaboard. When the Americans reached the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, the Ottawa's time had passed, and their role in the history of the United States after 1775 was small. A trading tribe even before contact, the Ottawa were businessmen before they ever met a European, so they immediately recognized the opportunity presented by the fur trade and attached themselves to it and the French. They soon became indispensable. Paddling their birchbark canoes for great distances, the Ottawa became the "French connection" to other Algonquin in the Great Lakes and brought the furs they collected to the Huron villages where the French were. The Huron provided warehouse space and protection from the Iroquois, but the Ottawa were the sales force who went out and got the business. Recognizing this, the French built their trade around the Ottawa and Huron.