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Péski’a [Double-ball]

Similar to pegnegewen [stick ball], péski’a or double-ball is a Potawatomi sport played traditionally by women. Played for recreation, communal prestige, spiritual reverence and healing, bagjegejek [players] are equipped with their own bagwzhanatek [ball stick] and divided amongst two even teams based on their moiety, shkesh [first-born] and kishko [second-born]. Péski’a [double-ball] is played on a large open field, with …

Seasonal Rounds

The pattern of annual migration across an area’s ecological zones to secure the variety of food and household goods that fulfill social-economic and cultural needs. The Seasonal Rounds of the Potawatomi refers to the pattern of annual migration across the local landscape’s ecological zones to harvest plants and animals that feed, heal, and are useful to the Potawatomi people (Steen-Adams, …

Sema [Tobacco]

Tobacco is the most revered and powerful of all the medicine plants and considered a gift from Mamogosnan [Creator]. It is used for protection and its smoke carries thoughts and prayers to the Creator.

Three Fires Council

Traditionally we are known as the Neshnabek [Man Sent Down From Above], a confederated nation comprised of the Ojibwe, Odawa and Bodéwadmi [Potawatomi]. Our confederacy is referred to as the Three Fires Council, recognizing that each tribe functions as brethren to serve the alliance as a whole. The Ojibwe, our eldest kinsmen, were first in igniting the flames of the …

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) describes the complex set of knowledge, practices and beliefs about the relationship that indigenous peoples have with the living and nonliving world around them (Berkes, 2003). It exists in societies that have a direct dependence on local resources. It is the intergenerational knowledge that develops from a long-term intimacy and attentiveness when people are materially and …

Traditional Games

Games of Skill Neta Chikaswen [Games of Skill] are those in which the outcomes are determined by a player’s mental and physical abilities, rather than by chance. Traditional sports of this nature were and still are used by Potawatomi and other Native nations to build communal ties through leisure, celebrate and honor sacred and ceremonial events, cure the sick and …

Wabshkebyek [Sage]

Sage and its smoke are used for purification. This medicine is for ceremonies to purify the environment and those in attendance.

Wdodamewan [Clan System]

Protecting the Neshnabek from their destructive pasts, Mamogosnan [Creator] bestowed two gifts to the people. First was spiritual strength in the form of our ancient ceremonies, providing balance amid the spiritual and physical elements of life. Second was our traditional Wdodamewan [clan system], preserving and maintaining spiritual and social order among our people. Some of our oldest clans are the …

Wédasé [Warrior]

The rank of warrior among Potawatomi was one of great honor and responsibility. Those who were victorious in battle were given the title of Wédasé, meaning brave or strong hearted. Often, they became members of the village warrior society, defending and policing the community. A rite of passage, warrior training began at an early age. Young boys were taught by …

Windego [Cannibal]

The cold, harsh winters of the Great Lakes, inspired stories of the Windego, a man-eating creature that hunted in blizzards, possessing and devouring the ill willed.