Warren Petoskey papers: 1873-2016 (bulk 1990s-2016)
Summary Information
Title: Warren Petoskey papers
Creator: Petoskey, Warren.
Inclusive dates: 1873-2016
Bulk dates: 1990s-2016
Extent: 0.3 linear feet
Extent: 1.4 GB (online)
Extent: 1 archived websites (online)
Warren Petoskey is an Odawa and Lakotah elder. He is a writer, musician, dancer, and lectures on the history of American Indian boarding schools. The collection includes materials related to his professional and personal activities and interests, biographical and historical information, copies of genealogical records, as well as personal photographs and audio recordings.
Call number: 2016048 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Kylista Geiger in July 2016

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Donated by Warren Petoskey (donor no. 11477), in March 2016.

Access Restrictions:

The Warren Petoskey papers are open for research

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.


Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Processing Information:

In preparing digital material for long-term preservation and access, the Bentley Historical Library adheres to professional best practices and standards to ensure that content will retain its authenticity and integrity. For more information on procedures for the ingest and processing of digital materials, please see Bentley Historical Library Digital Processing Note. Access to digital material may be provided either as a direct link to an individual file or as a downloadable package of files bundled in a zip file.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Warren Petoskey papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Warren Donald Petoskey is an elder of the Waganakising Odawa and Minneconjou Lakotah nations, member of the Bear Clan, and a citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. Born in Jackson, Michigan on June 3, 1945 to Warren Frank and Juanita Mae Petoskey, he was 9 years old when his great-aunt Ella Petoskey gave him the name Biidassige ("Light that is Coming") in honor of his great-great-grandfather, Ignatius Petoskey (for whom the city of Petoskey, Michigan was named).

Petoskey was ordained as a Christian minister in 1971 after attending a service at The Apostolic Church in Auburn Hills, Michigan. While working as a certified addictions counselor, spiritual traditionalist counselor, and house manager for a Native American treatment program, Petoskey came to understand that his clients often experienced residual effects from the American Indian boarding schools that many (including his father and grandfather, Cornelius Joseph Petoskey) were forced to attend. This realization led Warren to found Dawnland Native Ministries in 1998; based near Petoskey, Michigan, this outreach program endeavors "to build bridges of understanding with all peoples regarding the damage done by America's boarding school policies and their effects on the current generations." To that end, he has traveled around Michigan and across the United States with his wife, Barbara Louise Curton Petoskey, giving presentations regarding historical trauma and boarding school syndrome.

Petoskey is also a poet and essayist; his 2009 memoir, Dancing My Dream, details his childhood, the stories of his family and ancestors, and his spiritualism and way of life. In addition, he has produced an album of Native American music entitled Sacred Dream, which includes music written and performed by him and his family members.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Warren Petoskey collection, 1873-2016, contains correspondence regarding presentations that Petoskey has held and his professional performance, copies of genealogy and family records, writings -- including his poetry, essays, and his published memoir, Dancing My Dream, --photographs of himself and family members, certificates for language learning and earned in the course of his work as an addictions counselor, and other materials that document Warren's life as an Odawa and Lakotah elder. The collection also includes an oral history interview audio recordings, the contents of an audio CD, Sacred Dream, with Native American music written and performed by Warren Petoskey, and an archived website for Petoskey's ministry, Dawnland Native Ministries.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.

  • Indians of North America -- Education.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Ottawa Indians -- Michigan.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan.
  • Indians of North America -- Michigan -- Music.
  • Oral histories (document genres).
  • Photographs.
  • Sound recordings.
  • Web sites.
  • Digital file formats.
  • Petoskey, Warren.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
Warren Petoskey [series]
Box   1  
Biographical and historical information 1787-1885, 1971-1972, undated [view item]
Box   1  
Certificates 1972-2006


[view item]
Box   1  
Correspondence 1981-2016 (with gaps) [view item]
Dawnland Ministries Website (Archived Website) [access item]
Box   1  
Event agendas and flyers 2005-2015 [view item]
Box   1  
Lineage 1873-2008 (with gaps) [view item]
Box   1  
Newspaper clippings and articles 2012-2015 [view item]
Oral history interviews 2016
May 13, 2016 (.WAV file) [access item]
July 5, 2016 (.WAV file) [access item]
Box   1  
Photographs undated [view item]
Sacred Dream undated (.ZIP file) [access item]
Box   1  
Writings 1995-2016, undated [view item]
Additional Descriptive Data
Related Materials

The Bentley Historical Library provides a bibliography of resources that endeavors to list all manuscript collections in the library that reflect the history and culture of Native Americans in Michigan. The bibliography is available online at: http://bentley.umich.edu/legacy-support/nativeamericans/