The region that is now the state of Michigan was inhabited by peoples belonging to the Hopewell culture, widely dispersed populations which shared a network of trade routes extending from modern-day Florida up to the northern shores of Lake Ontario. Later, Algonquian speaking peoples from the east migrated in and formed large confederacies. For instance, the Chippewa (Ojibwe), the Odawa (which comes from a word that means “trade” or Ottawa), and Potawatomi tribes formed the Niswi-mishkodewinan or Council of Three Fires. The Council met for military and political purposes, including maintaining relationships with neighboring Anishinaabeg nations. The Chippewa called their land Mishi-Anishinaabaki and the state’s name comes from the Ojibwe word mishigami, which means “large water” or “large lake.”

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