Finally, after all these years, fame!
From the Harbor Light:
Andrew Blackbird named 2007 Michigan Walk of Fame inductee
First postmaster of Harbor Springs, helped Native Americans gain citizenship
SPECIAL TO HARBOR LIGHT NEWSPAPER
The Lansing Principal Shopping District and Michigan Historical Museum announced that former Harbor Springs resident Andrew J. Blackbird is a 2007 Michigan Walk of Fame inductee. He is among twelve state residents honored this year for exceptional life service and for significantly contributing to Michigan’s civic, cultural and entrepreneurial heritage.
The Michigan Walk of Fame was created in 2006 to honor state residents, past and present who have made significant contributions to the state, nation, or the world. The Michigan Walk of Fame the most comprehensive state-wide citizen recognition program in the nation.
Each inductee will be honored with an 18″ x 30″ bronze plaque embedded in the sidewalks of downtown Lansing, Michigan, the state’s Capitol city. The plaques will feature a star containing the inductee’s name and a description of their achievements. Inductees will also be recognized through individual biographical pages on the Michigan Walk of Fame Web site www.michiganwalkoffame.com
Inducted in the Education and Literature category, Blackbird’s sidewalk plaque will read:
plaque will read: Mack-e-te-be-nessy/ Andrew J. Blackbird c.1815-1908
Education & Literature
Educated first in Odawa (Ottawa) skills and traditions, Andrew J. Blackbird struggled to find the resources to attend Euro-American schools. He eventually studied at Ypsilanti State Normal School. His command of English enabled him to work as an interpreter for the Mackinac Indian Agency. He helped gain Michigan citizenship for Native Americans under the 1850 Constitution and became the first postmaster of Harbor Springs in the 1860s. Blackbird also helped widows and children of Civil War soldiers obtain benefits. His History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan, published in 1887, includes a grammar of the Odawa language and his autobiography, one of the first written by a Native American.
“Andrew J. Blackbird is the type of individual that the Michigan Walk of Fame was designed to recognize,” states Michigan Walk of Fame Director Kevin Green. “His efforts to preserve the Odawa language and culture and his contributions to others and our state history are significant.”
Blackbird’s sidewalk plaque will be strategically located in the 300 North Washington Square block in downtown Lansing. This position is directly across the street from the entrance to the 20,000 plus student Lansing Community College campus. Michigan Walk of Fame Director Kevin Green explained, “We specifically placed Andrew J. Blackbird’s plaque in this location. Our hope is that Blackbird’s contribution to our state inspires students to learn and to serve others.”
Blackbird was one of over one hundred nominees considered for induction in the Education and Literature category this year. Over 600 nominees were screened in the six Michigan Walk of Fame categories combined:
- Agriculture, Business & Industry
- Arts & Entertainment
- Athletics & Recreation
- Civic & Community Leadership
- Education & Literature
- Medicine, Science & Technology
In addition, nominations have been received from all eighty three Michigan counties and from former residents living throughout the United States.
Inductees are selected through a judging process that scores individual nominees based upon the significance of their contribution. The top two scoring nominees in each category become that year’s inductees. The judging process is conducted state-wide via the Internet utilizing the talent and expertise of professionals in the respective Michigan Walk of Fame categories. The Education & Literature category judges included Michigan’s Teacher of the Year, historians, librarians, authors, publishers and writers.
Nominations for Michigan Walk of Fame induction in 2008 can be submitted for consideration at http://www.michiganwalkoffame.com through December 31, 2007.
The Michigan Walk of Fame is a strategic partnership between the Lansing Principal Shopping District (PSD), Michigan Historical Museum, and the City of Lansing.
The Michigan Walk of Fame is funded through individual and corporate sponsorships. Downtown Lansing Inc., the PSD’s 501(c) 3 agency, is coordinating the project’s fundraising efforts. The Michigan Walk of Fame utilizes no public funding. Individual contributions can be made to the Michigan Walk of Fame at http://www.michiganwalkoffame.com
Andrew is my ancestor, only a few family members know of where he is truly buried with his family. I once went to the museum to see if they had any info. on his resting place, they did not. His grave remains today as an unmarked grave below an small bush. He lays with 13 of his own family relatives in a mass grave. No one has given him any marker or plaque to show our people were the once great leader now rests.