About This Place
Lake Leelanau is an unincorporated community in Bingham Township, Leelanau County, Michigan, near the lake of the same name. It is situated along M-204 at the "narrows" that separate North & South Lake Leelanau.
Native Americans who first inhabited the area called this land "ke-ski-bi-ag," which means "narrow body of water," and called the lake itself "lee-lan-au," which means "delight of life." Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an Indian agent for the territory, was credited with formally naming the county, and was said to use Leelinau as a character in his writing. See Leelanau County for a more complete discussion of the etymology of the name.
Scholars have established that Leelinau was first one of the pen names used by his wife Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, in writings for The Literary Voyager, a family magazine which she and her husband wrote together and circulated among friends in the 1820s. Jane Johnston was of Ojibwa and Scots-Irish descent, and wrote in Ojibwe and English. While her writing was not published formally in her lifetime (except as Schoolcraft appropriated it under his own name), Jane Johnston Schoolcraft has been recognized as "the first Native American literary writer, the first known Indian woman writer, the first known Indian poet, the first known poet to write poems in a Native American language, and the first known American Indian to write out traditional Indian stories." In 2008 Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.