Defenders of the Northwest: Ndobani


The fur trade’s decline and colonial competition increased turmoil across Indian Country. Through the 18th to early 19th century, discord among Native Americans and the federal government continued to grow. Defenders of the Northwest: Ndobani gallery at the Cultural Heritage Center focuses on this influential time in North American history.

Each Native group had their own survival tactics. Some wanted to find the best European ally, while others tried to abandon colonialism entirely.

Potawatomi held a reputation for being strong, fierce warriors. Common weapons and tools featured in the exhibit provide insight into this tumultuous era and weaponry advancement. Images of prominent Potawatomi headmen captured during live treaty negotiations connect the section’s ceiling and floor. Defenders of the Northwest: Ndobani’s goal is to highlight warfare’s evolution and the deep, spiritual connection associated with this tumultuous era.

Native communities, including the Potawatomi, fought to preserve what they could to keep their culture, language and its people alive. Unfortunately, shortly following this time in history, federal policy and tribal relations with the government ushered changes impacting every Native American then, now and forever.