Okemos is an unincorporated community in Meridian Charter Township, Ingham County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes and does not have any separate legal existence as a municipality. Local government is provided by the township. The population was 22,805 at the 2000 census. The Okemos Public Schools includes Okemos and some immediate surrounding areas. The nickname of the school's sports teams is the Chiefs. Some have questioned the political correctness of the mascot despite the town being named after a Native American chieftain. The use of the image of the Chieftain head has been removed from most school-funded items, although several self-supporting sports teams still wear it. The settlement of Hamilton was founded in 1839 by Freeman Bray as a trading point with the surrounding Ojibwa people and as a farming community. In 1859, one year following the death of Chief John Okemos (on whose treaty lands the city was built), the city was renamed Okemos to honor the Native American chief. It was originally a farming community, but has been entirely absorbed as a Lansing suburb. Downtown Okemos is located at the intersection of Hamilton and Okemos Roads. The most notable business is the Meridian Mall, which is north of downtown Okemos.