Book spotlights Native American women who lived on Mackinac Island

Lansing – What started as personal research for Theresa Weller to find out more about the Anishinaabe name of an ancestor, turned into a book, “The Founding Mothers of Mackinac Island: The Agatha Biddle Band of 1870.”

It tells the story of the Agatha Biddle Band, a band of primarily Native American women who lived on Mackinac Island in the 1800s.

The band was a unique Native American community because it was composed of 66 women and eight men. It was extremely unusual for a band to be majority women. Moreover, the women were unrelated to each other, which was also unusual at the time.

They formed their band because they each owed annuity payments from the U.S. government for land abandoned in the Washington Treaty of 1836

Weller tells family families in the band and gives readers insight into what life was like for them and others on Mackinac Island during the 1800s.

“It started when I was just collecting the annuities and wanted to find out what my ancestor’s Indian name was, and it just blossomed. I thought there were so many people related to Mackinac Island that I should keep doing it, ”Weller said.

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