The Pottawatomi /ˌpɑːtəˈwɑːtəmiː/,[1] also spelled Pottawatomie and Potawatomi (among many variations), are a Native American people of the Great Plains, upper Mississippi River, and western Great Lakes region. They traditionally speak the Potawatomi language, a member of the Algonquian family. The Potawatomi called themselves Neshnabé, a cognate of the word Anishinaabe. The Potawatomi were part of a long-term alliance, called the Council of Three Fires, with the Ojibwe and Odawa (Ottawa). In the Council of Three Fires, the Potawatomi were considered the "youngest brother" and were referred to in this context as Bodéwadmi, a name that means "keepers of the fire" and refers to the council fire of three peoples.

In the 19th century, they were pushed to the west by European/American encroachment in the late 18th century and removed from their lands in the Great Lakes region to reservations in Oklahoma. Under Indian Removal, they eventually ceded many of their lands, and most of the Potawatomi relocated to Nebraska, Kansas, and Indian Territory, now in Oklahoma. Some bands survived in the Great Lakes region and today are federally recognized as tribes. In Canada, there are over 20 First Nation bands.

Potawatomi 1920
Potawatomi at a rain dance in 1920
Total population
Regions with significant populations
 United States (Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Illinois)
 Canada (Ontario)
English, Potawatomi
Catholicism, Methodism, Midewiwin


The English "Potawatomi" is derived from the Ojibwe Boodewaadamii(g) (syncoped in the Ottawa as Boodewaadmii(g)). The Potawatomi name for themselves (autonym) is Bodéwadmi (without syncope: Bodéwademi; plural: Bodéwadmik), a cognate of the Ojibwe form. Their name means "those who tend the hearth-fire," which refers to the hearth of the Council of Three Fires. The word comes from "to tend the hearth-fire," which is bodewadm (without syncope: bodewadem) in the Potawatomi language; the Ojibwe and Ottawa forms are boodawaadam and boodwaadam, respectively.

Alternatively, the Potawatomi call themselves Neshnabé (without syncope: Eneshenabé; plural: Neshnabék), a cognate of Ojibwe Anishinaabe(g), meaning "original people".


The Potawatomi teach their children about the "Seven Grandfather Teachings" of wisdom, respect, love, honesty, humility, bravery, and truth toward each other and all creation.[2] Each one of which teachings them the equality and importance of their fellow tribesman and respect for all of natures creations. The story itself teaches the importance of patience and listening as it follows the Water Spider's journey to retrieve fire for the other animals to survive the cold. As the other animals step forth one after another to proclaim that they shall be the one's to retrieve the fire, the Water spider sits and waits while listening to her fellow animals. As they finish and wrestle with their fears, she steps forward and announces that she will be the one to bring it back. As they laugh and doubt her she weaves a bowl out of her own web that sails her across the water to retrieves the fire. She brings back a hot coal that they make fire out of and they celebrate her honor and bravery.


Pottawatomi Fashion at the Field Museum in Chicago
Regalia at the Field Museum in Chicago

The Potawatomi are first mentioned in French records, which suggest that in the early 17th century, they lived in what is now southwestern Michigan. During the Beaver Wars they fled to the area around Green Bay to escape attacks by both the Iroquois and the Neutral Nation, who were seeking expanded hunting grounds.

As an important part of Tecumseh's Confederacy, Potawatomi warriors took part in Tecumseh's War, the War of 1812 and the Peoria War. Their alliances switched repeatedly between Great Britain and the United States as power relations shifted between the nations, and they calculated effects on their trade and land interests.

At the time of the War of 1812, a band of Potawatomi inhabited the area near Fort Dearborn, where Chicago developed. Led by the chiefs Blackbird and Nuscotomeg (Mad Sturgeon), a force of about 500 warriors attacked the United States evacuation column leaving Fort Dearborn; they killed most of the civilians and 54 of Captain Nathan Heald's force, and wounded many others. George Ronan, the first graduate of West Point to be killed in combat, died in this ambush. The incident is referred to as the "Fort Dearborn Massacre". A Potawatomi chief named Mucktypoke (Makdébki, Black Partridge), counseled his fellow warriors against the attack. Later he saved some of the civilian captives who were being ransomed by the Potawatomi.[3]

French period (1615–1763)

The French period of contact began with early explorers who reached the Potawatomi in western Michigan. They also found the tribe located along the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin. By the end of the French period, the Potawatomi had begun a move to the Detroit area, leaving the large communities in Wisconsin.[3]

British period (1763–1783)

The British period of contact began when France ceded its lands after the defeat in the French and Indian War (aka Seven Years' War). Pontiac's Rebellion was an attempt by Native Americans to push the British and other European settlers out of their territory. The Potawatomi captured every British Frontier Garrison but the one at Detroit.[3]

The Potawatomi nation continued to grow and expanded westward from Detroit, most notably in the development of the St. Joseph villages adjacent to the Miami in southwestern Michigan. The Wisconsin communities continued and moved south along the Lake Michigan shoreline.[3]

United States treaty period (1783–1830)

The United States Treaty period of Potawatomi history began with the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the American Revolutionary War and established the United States' interest in the lower Great Lakes. It lasted until the treaties for Indian Removal were signed. The US recognized the Potawatomi as a single tribe. They often had a few tribal leaders whom all villages accepted. The Potawatomi had a decentralized society, with several main divisions based on geographic locations: Milwaukee or Wisconsin area, Detroit or Huron River, the St. Joseph River, the Kankakee River, Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers, the Illinois River and Lake Peoria, and the Des Plaines and Fox Rivers.

The chiefs listed below are grouped by geographic area.

Milwaukee Potawatomi

  • Manamol[3]
  • Siggenauk (Siginak: "Le Tourneau" or "Blackbird")[3]

Chicago Potawatomi

Des Plaines and Fox River Potawatomi

  • Aptakisic (fl. 1830s, Abtagizheg "Half Day")[4]
  • Mukatapenaise (Mkedébnés "Blackbird")[3]
  • Waubansee (He Causes Paleness)[3]
  • Waweachsetoh[3] along with La Gesse, Gomo or Masemo (Resting Fish)

Illinois River Potawatomi

  • Mucktypoke[3] (Makdébki: "Black Partridge")
  • Senachewine[3] (died 1831) (Petacho or Znajjewan "Difficult Current") was the brother of Gomo who was chief among the Lake Peoria Potawatomi

Kankakee River (Iroquois and Yellow Rivers) Potawatomi

St. Joseph and Elkhart Potawatomi

Tippecanoe and Wabash River Potawatomi

Fort Wayne Potawatomi

Me-Te-A, A Pottawatomie Chief. (15247213874)
Metea lithograph (1842)
  • Metea[5] (1760?–1827) (Mdewé, "Sulks")
  • Wabnaneme[3][5] on the Pigeon River

American removal period (1830–1840)

The removal period of Potawatomi history began with the treaties of the late 1820s, when the United States created reservations. Billy Caldwell and Alexander Robinson negotiated for the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Potowatomi in the Second Treaty of Prairie du Chien (1829), by which they ceded most of their lands in Wisconsin and Michigan. Some Potawatomi became religious followers of the "Kickapoo Prophet", Kennekuk. Over the years, the US reduced the size of the reservations under pressure for land by incoming European Americans.

The final step followed the Treaty of Chicago, negotiated in 1833 for the tribes by Caldwell and Robinson. In return for land cessions, the US promised new lands, annuities and supplies to enable the peoples to develop new homes. The Illinois Potawatomi were removed to Nebraska and the Indiana Potawatomi to Kansas, both west of the Mississippi River. Often annuities and supplies were reduced, or late in arrival, and the Potawatomi suffered after their relocations. Those in Kansas later were removed to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma. The removal of the Indiana Potawatomi was documented by a Catholic priest, Benjamin Petit, who accompanied the Indians on the Potawatomi Trail of Death. Petit died while returning to Indiana. His diary was published in 1941 by the Indiana Historical Society.[6]

Many Potawatomi found ways to remain, primarily those in Michigan. Others fled to their Odawa neighbors or to Canada to avoid removal to the west.


Ed pigeon gun lake pot
Ed Pigeon, Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish cultural coordinator and language instructor, with son, 2006
Potawatomi rain dance
Rain dance, Kansas, c. 1920

There are several active bands of Potawatomi.

United States

Federally recognized Potawatomi tribes in the United States:

Canada - First Nations with Potawatomi people


Year Total United
1667[8] 4,000
1765[9] 1,500
1766[9] 1,750
1778[9] 2,250
1783[9] 2,000
1795[9] 1,200
1812[9] 2,500
1820[9] 3,400
1843[9] 1,800
1854[8] 4,440 4,040 400
1889[10] 1,582 1,416 166
1908[9] 2,742 2,522 220
1910[8] 2,620 2,440 180
1990[11] 23,000 17,000 4,000
1997[12] 25,000
1998[8] 28,000


Chauvignerie (1736) and Morgan (1877) mentions among the Potawatomi doodems (clans) being:

  • Bené (Turkey)
  • Gagagshi (Crow)
  • Gnew (Golden Eagle)
  • Jejakwe' (Thunderer, i.e. Crane)
  • Mag (Loon)
  • Mekchi (Frog)
  • Mek (Beaver)
  • Mewi'a (Wolf)
  • Mgezewa (Bald Eagle)
  • Mkedésh-gékékwa (Black Hawk)
  • Mko (Bear)
  • Mshéwé (Elk)
  • Mshike' (Turtle)
  • Nme' (Sturgeon)
  • Nmébena (Carp)
  • Shage'shi (Crab)
  • Wabozo (Rabbit)
  • Wakeshi (Fox)


They regard Epigaea repens as their tribal flower and consider it to have come directly from their divinity.[13] Allium tricoccum is consumed in traditional Potawatomi cuisine.[14]They mix an infusion of the root of Uvularia grandiflora with lard and use it as salve to massage sore muscles and tendons.[15] They use Symphyotrichum novae-angliae as a fumigating reviver.[16] Vaccinium myrtilloides is part of their traditional cuisine, and is eaten fresh, dried, and canned.[17] They also use the root bark of the plant for an unspecified aliment.[18]


The Potawatomi first lived in Lower Michigan, then moved to northern Wisconsin and eventually settled into northern Indiana and central Illinois. In the early 19th century, major portions of Potawatomi lands were seized by the U.S. government. Following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, by which the tribe ceded its lands in Illinois, most of the Potawatomi people were removed to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Many perished en route to new lands in the west on their journey through Iowa, Kansas and Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), following what became known as the "Trail of Death".

Year or Century Location[19]
1615 East of Michilimackinac, MI
Islands of Door Peninsula, WI (1st Fr)
1640 (until) with Hochunk (Winnebago) west of Green Bay, WI
1641 Sault Ste. Marie, MI
1670 Mouth of Green Bay, WI/MI
17th century Milwaukee River, WI
1780s on St. Joseph River, MI/IN


Potawatomi (also spelled Pottawatomie; in Potawatomi Bodéwadmimwen or Bodéwadmi Zheshmowen or Neshnabémwen) is a Central Algonquian language and is spoken around the Great Lakes in Michigan and Wisconsin. It is also spoken by Potawatomi in Kansas, Oklahoma, and in southern Ontario.[20] There are fewer than 1300 people who speak Potawatomi as a first language, most of them elderly.[21] The people are working to revitalize the language.

The Potawatomi language is most similar to the Odawa language; it also has borrowed a considerable amount of vocabulary from Sauk. Like the Odawa language, or the Ottawa dialect of the Anishinaabe language, the Potawatomi language exhibits a great amount of vowel syncope.

Many places in the Midwest have names derived from the Potawatomi language, including Waukegan, Muskegon, Oconomowoc, Pottawattamie County, Kalamazoo, and Skokie.

See also


  1. ^ Clifton, James A. (1978). "Potawatomi." In Northeast, ed. Bruce G. Trigger. Vol. 15 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, pg. 725
  2. ^ Humphries, Maria; Verbos, Amy Klemm (2014-08-01). "A Native American Relational Ethic: An Indigenous Perspective on Teaching Human Responsibility". Journal of Business Ethics. 123 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1007/s10551-013-1790-3. ISSN 1573-0697.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Edmunds, R. David (1988). The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press (Civilization of the American Indian Series); ISBN 0-8061-2069-X
  4. ^ "Aptakisic". Lake County, Illinois History. 25 March 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McPherson, Alan (1993). Indian Names in Indiana.
  6. ^ Petit, Benjamin (1941). The trail of death; letters of Benjamin Marie Petit (in English and French). Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society. Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  7. ^ Dunn, Jacob Piatt (28 March 2018). "True Indian stories: with glossary of Indiana Indian names". Sentinel – via Google Books.
  8. ^ a b c d "Potawatomi". google.com.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hodges, Frederick Webb (1908). "Potawatomi" in Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico
  10. ^ "Linguistic Families of America" in Seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1885-1886, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1891
  11. ^ "Nishnabek Potawatomi Indian Tribe Portal Websites". www.firstnationsseeker.ca.
  12. ^ "Potawatomi".
  13. ^ Smith, Huron H. 1933 Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230 (p. 118)
  14. ^ Smith, Huron H. 1933 Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230 (p. 104)
  15. ^ Smith, Huron H., 1933, Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians, Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230, pages 56, 57 64
  16. ^ Smith, Huron H. (1933). Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230 (p. 50).
  17. ^ Smith, Huron H., 1933, Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians, Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230, page 99
  18. ^ Smith, Huron H., 1933, Ethnobotany of the Forest Potawatomi Indians, Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 7:1-230, page 57
  19. ^ Kubiak, William J. (1970). Great Lakes Indians: A Pictorial Guide. Baker Book House Company.
  20. ^ Moseley, Christopher (2007). Encyclopedia of the World's Endangered Languages, p. 74. Routledge. ISBN 0-7007-1197-X.
  21. ^ Hinton, Leanne and Hale, Kenneth (2001). The Green Book of Language Revitalization in Practice, p. 342. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN 0-12-349353-6.

External links


Anishinaabe (plural: Anishinaabeg) is the autonym for a group of culturally related indigenous peoples in what is known today as Canada and the United States. These include the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (including Mississaugas), Potawatomi, Oji-Cree, and Algonquin peoples. The Anishinaabeg speak Anishinaabemowin, or Anishinaabe languages that belong to the Algonquian language family. They historically lived in the Northeast Woodlands and Subarctic.

The word Anishinaabeg translates to "people from whence lowered." Another definition refers to "the good humans," meaning those who are on the right road or path given to them by the Creator Gitche Manitou, or Great Spirit. Basil Johnston, an Ojibwe historian, linguist, and author, wrote that the term's literal translation is "Beings Made Out of Nothing" or "Spontaneous Beings." Anishinaabe myths claim the people were created by divine breath.Anishinaabe is often mistakenly considered a synonym of Ojibwe; however, it refers to a much larger group of tribes.

Anishinaabe traditional beliefs

Anishinaabe traditional beliefs cover the traditional belief system of the Anishinaabeg peoples, consisting of the Algonquin/Nipissing, Ojibwa/Chippewa/Saulteaux/Mississaugas, Odawa, Potawatomi and Oji-Cree, located primarily in the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada.

Billy Caldwell

Billy Caldwell Jr., , baptized Thomas Caldwell (March 17, 1782 – September 28, 1841), known also as Sauganash (Zhaaganaash: [one who speaks] English), was a British-Potawatomi fur trader who was commissioned captain in the Neato Indian Department of Canada during the War of 1812. He moved to the United States in 1818 and settled there. In 1829 and 1833 he negotiated treaties on behalf of the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi with the United States, and became a leader of a Potawatomi band at Trader's Point (Iowa Territory). He worked to gain the boundary long promised by the British between white settlers and Indians, but never achieved it.

Born in a Mohawk refugee camp near Fort Niagara, Billy was the son of a Potawatomi mother (Misheswans) (Caldwell Oral Family History - Ontario) and William Caldwell, a Scots-Irish immigrant to North America and a Loyalist British officer during the American Revolutionary War. He became multilingual, learning Potawatomi, English, and French.

After moving to the United States in 1818, Caldwell became a fur trader and learned the Potawatomi language, an Algonquian language; he negotiated with numerous tribes in the Lake Michigan area. He gained their respect and also acted as a translator and negotiator between the government and American Indians. In 1829, Caldwell represented the Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi peoples of the United Nations Tribes in negotiating the Second Treaty of Prairie du Chien with the United States. For his work, the US granted him a 1600-acre tract, known as the Caldwell Reserve, along the Chicago River. Eighty acres is included within the Cook County Forest Preserve.

Together with Alexander Robinson, Caldwell also negotiated the Treaty of Chicago in 1833 for the United Nations Tribes. The US had appointed the two mixed-race men as chiefs in 1829 to fill vacant positions, to encourage the United Nations Tribes to sign the cessions. The treaty led to the final removal of American Indians from that region, to west of the Mississippi River. In 1835, Caldwell migrated with his people from the Chicago region west to Platte County, Missouri.

As a result of the Platte Purchase in 1836, Caldwell and his band were removed from Missouri to Iowa Territory, to the area of Trader's Point (Pointe aux Poules) on the east bank of the Missouri River. While living at Trader's Point, Caldwell led a band of approximately 2000 Potawatomi. Their settlement became known as Camp Caldwell. In 1841 Caldwell died; scholars believe it may have been because of cholera.

Central Algonquian languages

The Central Algonquian languages are commonly grouped together as a subgroup of the larger Algonquian family, itself a member of the Algic family. Though the grouping is often encountered in the literature, it is an areal grouping, not a genetic grouping. In other words, the languages are grouped together because they were spoken near one another, not because they are more closely related to one another than to other Algonquian languages. Within the Algonquian family, only Eastern Algonquian is a valid genealogical group.

Within the Central Algonquian grouping, Potawatomi and Chippewa, otherwise known as Ojibwe, are closely related and are generally grouped together as an Ojibwa-Potawatomi sub-branch. David J. Costa speculated in his 2003–2004 web publications that Central Algonquian has a specific language sub-branch that he refers to as "Eastern Great Lakes". The hypothesis for the subgroup is based on lexical and phonological innovations.

Chilean tugboat Janequeo

The Chilean tugboat Janequeo (ATF-65) was an Abnaki-class tug of the Chilean Navy that sunk on 15 August 1965 during a devastating storm in the Bay of Manquemapu, 60 nautical miles (110 km; 69 mi) south of Corral, Chile with the loss of 51 men as she helped Leucotón that had run aground.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation

Citizen Potawatomi Nation is a federally recognized tribe of Potawatomi people located in Oklahoma. The Potawatomi are traditionally an Algonquian-speaking Eastern Woodlands tribe. They have 29,155 enrolled tribal members, of whom 10,312 live in the state of Oklahoma.

Council of Three Fires

The Council of Three Fires (in Anishinaabe: Niswi-mishkodewinan) are also known as the People of the Three Fires; the Three Fires Confederacy; or the United Nations of Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi Indians. The council is a long-standing Anishinaabe alliance of the Ojibwe (or Chippewa), Ottawa (or Odawa), and Potawatomi North American Native tribes.

Forest County Potawatomi Community

The Forest County Potawatomi Community is a band of the Potawatomi, many of whom live on the Forest County Potawatomi Indian Reservation, most of which lies on numerous non-contiguous plots of land in southern Forest County and northern Oconto County, Wisconsin, United States. There is also a small 6.95-acre (28,100 m2) plot of land in the city of Milwaukee. The total land area of the reservation is 50.5795 square kilometres (19.529 sq mi). The 2000 census reported a resident population of 531 persons on its territory.

Indian removals in Indiana

Indian removals in Indiana followed a series of the land cession treaties made between 1795 and 1846 that led to the removal of most of the native tribes from Indiana. Some of the removals occurred prior to 1830, but most took place between 1830 and 1846. The Lenape (Delaware), Piankashaw, Kickapoo, Wea, and Shawnee were removed in the 1820s and 1830s, but the Potawatomi and Miami removals in the 1830s and 1840s were more gradual and incomplete, and not all of Indiana’s Native Americans voluntarily left the state. The most well-known resistance effort in Indiana was the forced removal of Chief Menominee and his Yellow River band of Potawatomi in what became known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death in 1838, in which 859 Potawatomi were removed to Kansas and at least forty died on the journey west. The Miami were the last to be removed from Indiana, but tribal leaders delayed the process until 1846. Many of the Miami were permitted to remain on land allotments guaranteed to them under the Treaty of St. Mary's (1818) and subsequent treaties.

Between 1803 and 1809 William Henry Harrison negotiated more than a dozen treaties on behalf of the federal government that purchased nearly all the Indian land in most of present-day Illinois and the southern third of Indiana from various tribes. Most of the Wea and the Kickapoo removed west to Illinois and Missouri after 1813. The Treaty of St. Mary's led to the removal of the Delaware, in 1820, and the remaining Kickapoo, who removed west of the Mississippi River. After the United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act (1830), removals in Indiana became part of a larger nationwide effort that was carried out under President Andrew Jackson's administration. Most of the tribes had already removed from the state. The only major tribes remaining in Indiana were the Miami and the Potawatomi, and both of them were already confined to reservation lands under the terms of previous treaties. Between 1832 and 1837 the Potawatomi ceded their Indiana land and agreed to remove to reservations in Kansas. A small group joined the Potawatomi in Canada. Between 1834 and 1846 the Miami ceded their reservation land in Indiana and agreed to remove west of the Mississippi River; the major Miami removal to Kansas occurred in October 1846.

Not all of Indiana’s Native Americans left the state. Less than one half of the Miami removed. More than a half of the Miami either returned to Indiana or were never required to leave under the terms of the treaties. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians were the only other Indians left in the state after the end of the removals. Native Americans remaining in Indiana settled on privately owned land and eventually merged into the majority culture, although some retained ties to their Native American heritage. Members of the Miami Nation of Indiana concentrated along the Wabash River, while other Native Americans settled in Indiana's urban centers. In 2000 the state's population included more than 39,000 Native Americans from more than 150 tribes.

Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan

The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan is a federally recognized tribe of Potawatomi people in Michigan named for a 19th-century Ojibwe chief. They were formerly known as the Gun Lake Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians, the United Nation of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, Inc., and the Gun Lake Tribe or Gun Lake Band.

They are headquartered in Dorr, Michigan.

Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) (/nät uh wä sĕp ē/ /h(yōō) rôn/ /bānd/ /ov/ /thē/ /pät uh wät ō mē/) is a federally recognized tribe in the United States. The tribe achieved federal recognition Dec. 19, 1995, and currently has over 1,500 enrolled tribal members. The tribe’s main offices are located at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation near Athens, Michigan, with additional offices in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to better serve tribal members.

The Pine Creek Indian Reservation is located in Athens Township of southwestern Calhoun County, Michigan. The reservation has a land area of 129.4 acres (524,000 m2), as well as an additional 230 acres of land purchased by the tribe for its use.

NHBP has owned and operated FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan, since 2009. In the mission to diversify the economic portfolio of NHBP, Waséyabek Development Company, LLC, (WDC) was formed in 2011.

The culture of NHBP is expressed through traditional dancing, drumming, singing, medicines and teachings. Historically, Native families passed down teachings and ways of life orally, from generation to generation. NHBP still teaches in the ways of oral tradition, as well as utilizing modern technology to preserve their culture.

Ojibwe language

Ojibwe , also known as Ojibwa , Ojibway or Otchipwe, is an indigenous language of North America of the Algonquian language family. The language is characterized by a series of dialects that have local names and frequently local writing systems. There is no single dialect that is considered the most prestigious or most prominent, and no standard writing system that covers all dialects.

Dialects of Ojibwemowin are spoken in Canada, from southwestern Quebec, through Ontario, Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan, with outlying communities in Alberta; and in the United States, from Michigan to Wisconsin and Minnesota, with a number of communities in North Dakota and Montana, as well as groups that removed to Kansas and Oklahoma during the Indian Removal period. While there is some variation in the classification of its dialects, at least the following are recognized, from east to west: Algonquin, Eastern Ojibwe, Ottawa (Odawa), Western Ojibwe (Saulteaux), Oji-Cree (Severn Ojibwe), Northwestern Ojibwe, and Southwestern Ojibwe (Chippewa). Based upon contemporary field research, J. R. Valentine also recognizes several other dialects: Berens Ojibwe in northwestern Ontario, which he distinguishes from Northwestern Ojibwe; North of (Lake) Superior; and Nipissing. The latter two cover approximately the same territory as Central Ojibwa, which he does not recognize.The aggregated dialects of Ojibwemowin comprise the second most commonly spoken First Nations language in Canada (after Cree), and the fourth most widely spoken in the United States or Canada behind Navajo, the Inuit languages and Cree.Ojibwemowin is a relatively healthy indigenous language. The Waadookodaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School teaches all classes to children in Ojibwe only.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians are a federally recognized Potawatomi-speaking tribe based in southwestern Michigan and northeastern Indiana. Tribal government functions are located in Dowagiac, Michigan. The tribal membership was approximately 4,990 members as of 2014. They occupy reservation lands in a total of ten counties in the area.

The Potawatomi originated as a people along the Atlantic coastline at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River. Over centuries, along with the Ojibwe and Odawa Anishinaabe peoples, they migrated west to the Great Lakes region some 500–800 years ago in a "Great Migration."

The Pokagon are descendants of the residents of allied Potawatomi villages that were historically located along the St. Joseph, Paw Paw and Kalamazoo rivers in what are now southwest Michigan and northern Indiana. They were the only Potawatomi band to gain permission from the United States government to remain in Michigan after Indian removal in the 1830s. Many of the cities and streets in the Michigan area have adopted Potawatomi names. The tribe has been federally recognized since 1994 legislation affirmed its status; it has established self-government.

Potawatomi Area Council

The Potawatomi Area Council is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The Potawatomi Area Council serves all of Waukesha County and portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Walworth and Washington Counties. The Wag-O-Shag Lodge is the Order of the Arrow lodge for the Potawatomi Area Council.

Potawatomi Park, Indiana

Potawatomi Park is an unincorporated community in Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, in the U.S. state of Indiana.

Potawatomi State Park

Potawatomi State Park is a 1,225-acre (496 ha) Wisconsin state park northwest of the city of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in the Town of Nasewaupee. It is located on Sturgeon Bay, a bay of the Bay of Green Bay in Door County. Potawatomi State Park was established in 1928.

Potawatomi Trail of Death

The Potawatomi Trail of Death was the forced removal by militia in 1838 of some 859 members of the Potawatomi nation from Indiana to reservation lands in what is now eastern Kansas. They were escorted by armed volunteer militia, the march began at Twin Lakes, Indiana (Myers Lake and Cook Lake, near Plymouth, Indiana) on September 4, 1838, and ended on November 4, 1838, along the western bank of the Osage River, near present-day Osawatomie, Kansas. During the journey of approximately 660 miles (1,060 km) over 61 days, more than 40 persons died, most of them children. It marked the single largest Indian removal in Indiana history.

Although the Potawatomi had ceded their lands in Indiana to the federal government under a series of treaties made between 1818 and 1837, Chief Menominee and his Yellow River band at Twin Lakes refused to leave, even after the August 5, 1838, treaty deadline for departure had passed. Indiana governor David Wallace authorized General John Tipton to mobilize a local militia of one hundred volunteers to forcibly remove the Potawatomi from the state. On August 30, 1838, Tipton and his men surprised the Potawatomi at Twin Lakes, where they surrounded the village and gathered the remaining Potawatomi together for their removal to Kansas. Father Benjamin Marie Petit, a Catholic missionary at Twin Lakes, joined his parishioners on their difficult journey from Indiana, across Illinois and Missouri, into Kansas.

Historian Jacob Piatt Dunn is credited for naming the Potawatomis' forced march "The Trail of Death" in his book, True Indian Stories (1909). The Trail of Death was declared a Regional Historic Trail in 1994 by the state legislatures of Indiana, Illinois, and Kansas; Missouri passed similar legislation in 1996. As of 2013, there were 80 Trail of Death markers along the route: they were located at the campsites set up every 15 to 20 miles (a day's journey by walking), in all four states. Historic highway signs have been placed along the way in Indiana in Marshall, Fulton, Cass, Carroll, Tippecanoe and Warren counties, signaling each turn. Many signs have been erected in Illinois and Missouri. Kansas has completed placing highway signs in the three counties crossed by the Trail of Death.

Potawatomi language

Potawatomi (, also spelled Pottawatomie; in Potawatomi Bodéwadmimwen, or Bodéwadmi Zheshmowen, or Neshnabémwen) is a Central Algonquian language. It was historically spoken by the Pottawatomi people who lived around the Great Lakes in what are now Michigan and Wisconsin in the United States, and in southern Ontario in Canada. Federally recognized tribes in Michigan and Oklahoma are working to revive the language.


Waubonsie (c. 1760 – c. 1848) was a leader of the Potawatomi Native American people. His name has been spelled in a variety of ways, including Wabaunsee, Wah-bahn-se, Waubonsee, Waabaanizii in the contemporary Ojibwe language, and Wabanzi in the contemporary Potawatomi language (meaning "He Causes Paleness" in both languages).

Federally recognized
State recognized
Tribal languages
(still spoken)
Wisconsin Native American Tribes in Wisconsin
Native people
U.S. people
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