Resident Calls for Name Change of Indian Village, Historic Detroit Neighborhood

Jared Ten Brink is an Indian Village resident and a member of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi. He’s asking the neighborhood association to consider a name change of the neighborhood, calling it insensitive to Native Americans.

There’s a call to change the name of a historic Detroit neighborhood.

Since the 19th century, Indian Village on the city’s East Side has been known for its shaded streets and stately homes designed by marquee architects that often list with an asking price of $1 million or more.

“Those of us who are indigenous can start to take back some of the power and start to take back some of our name.” — Jared Ten Brink, resident

But as a racial reckoning across the country targets inequality and police brutality, the name of the neighborhood is being called insensitive by a local resident.

Jared Ten Brink of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi has asked the Historic Indian Village Association to consider renaming the neighborhood as well as its newsletter known as “Smoke Signals.” 

Click on the player above to hear the history of Indian Village and the case for changing its name.

Ryan Patrick Hooper
Ryan Patrick Hooper

At an August 3rd meeting, the neighborhood association said more than 50 residents joined a Zoom chat to voice their opinions, though the issue was not decided. 

“This could be an opportunity to change the name in such a way that is respectful to the people who lived here; that is empowered by the people who live here,” says Ten Brink during an interview on CultureShift on 101.9 WDET. “Those of us who are indigenous can start to take back some of the power and start to take back some of our name.”

Ten Brink has suggested the Village or the Village at Cook Farm as possible name changes. 

Abraham Cook was one of the original proprietors of the land, which was used for farming back in 1811, according to the Detroit Historical Society.

Around 1893, the area was named Indian Village as a marketing tactic — not because there was any evidence that Native Americans once inhabited the area. Two of the major street names that run through Indian Village — Seminole and Iroquois — were reportedly named after horses from the Hamtramck Race Course that was there in the 19th century.

Indian Village was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1972

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper

    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.