They grew corn and squash and gathered berries, seeds, and wild rice. They fished and hunted deer, bison (buffalo), elk, and small animals. French explorers entered Potawatomi lands in 1634.
The Potawatomi Indians were farming people. Potawatomi women planted and harvested corn, beans, squash, and tobacco, as well as gathering wild rice and berries. The men hunted deer, elk, and wild birds and caught fish. The Potawatomis also tapped trees for maple syrup as Michigan people do today.
They often hunted animals such as deer, bear, moose, and foxes. The hunters used stone tipped spears and bow and arrows to kill their prey, then wrapped the meat for the return home. The most prevalent animals hunted by the Potawatomi were deer and buffalo.
5 Hunting and Gathering Using bow and arrow, the Potawatomi hunted deer, elk and beaver. In larger groups, they also hunted buffalo. They fished in the numerous streams around Lake Michigan, using spears and fishing nets. The men and women grew corn, beans, onions, tobacco, pumpkin and squash.
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.
The Potawatomi continued to ally themselves with the French, as did other tribes from Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. They fought in many famous battles of the war, such as Braddock’s Defeat in Pennsylvania in 1755 and the infamous Massacre of Fort William Henry in New York in 1757.
Religion. Traditional Potawatomi religion is not a separate practice, but runs through every aspect of tribal life. Religion connects the tribe to their community, to nature, to their ancestors, and to the supernatural world.
Neshnabémwen, the language of the original people, is the native language of the Potawatomi people. It is a goal of the Pokagon Band to revitalize its language, and the Department of Language offers opportunities for learners of all ages and abilities to learn the Potawatomi language.
Many know about the Citizen Potawatomi’s long ties to the Catholic Church, with French missionaries first introducing the Christian religion to the tribes of the Great Lakes region as far back as the 17th century.
The current population of all Potawatomi in Canada and the United States is almost 28,000.
The Potawatomi built large, bark-covered houses. They also built smaller, dome-shaped homes called wigwams. They grew corn and squash and gathered berries, seeds, and wild rice.
Today, the Forest County Potawatomi Community is thriving with an enrolled membership of about 1,400. Nearly half of the Tribe lives on the reservation, comprised of four communities in the southern section of Forest County, Wisconsin.
Definition of Potawatomi 1a: an Indian people of the lower peninsula of Michigan and adjoining states. b: a member of such people. 2: the Algonquian language of the Potawatomi people.
However, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi avoided removal. In Indiana, treaties between the Native Americans and the U.S. government began with the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 and culminated with the Treaty of Chicago in 1833. Catholic Native Americans and converts joined Pokagon’s tribe.
Shabonee, also spelled Shabbona, (born c. 1775, near Maumee River [Ohio, U.S.]—died July 17, 1859, Morris, Ill., U.S.), Potawatomi Indian chief, hero of a Paul Revere-style ride through northern Illinois in 1832, the purpose of which was to warn white settlers of an imminent Indian raid during the Black Hawk War.