405.878.5830 • Open Monday - Friday: 8AM - 5PM CST | Saturday: 10AM - 3PM CST • POTAWTOMI.ORG

Encyclopedia

BROWSE BY LETTER
View A-Z Index

Family Reunion Festival


The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Reunion Festival is an annual celebration of native culture for the Citizen Potawatomi people. The Festival takes place during the last Saturday of June for tribal members and their guests. Tribal elections are held during the Festival and voting occurs on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the tribal courtroom (in the Citizen …

Five Medals


Wanyanoshonya was an influential and powerful ogema (leader) among the Elkhart River Potawatomi. He led many great battles against warring tribes in the Great Lakes Region as well as secured peace and safety for his kinsmen through numerous treaties with France, Britain and America. As a warrior, Wanyanoshonya fought alongside famed Miami Mshikenikwe (Little Turtle) at the Battle of Fallen …

Fort Dearborn


For thousands of years, Native tribes settled the region of present-day Chicago. Chegago is a Potawatomi word that described the area’s smell, commonly thought to be wild onions. The land was secured in the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, with the goal of controlling the strategic portage of Lake Michigan to the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase.  Built by Captain Joh Whistler …

Four Directions


Wech-ksenyak [north], translated as “where the cold is”, is where Mother Earth is purified by snow and home to our winter season bbon. White is the color of this direction. With hair the color of snow, North is the place of our elders. We are reminded of the stories and teachings they gift us, as we weather the cold in …

Fox Wars


Led by prominent warriors Mackisabe, the elder Winemac and Madouche, the Potawatomi, along with allied France and other Great Lakes nations, enlisted to quell disruptive Meskwaki [Fox] attacks on the lucrative western fur trade and neighboring tribes. Angered that their Siouan enemies acquired weapons and supplies via the trade network, the Meskwaki [Fox] raided, killed and pillaged villages, merchants, and …

Fur Trade and French Alliance


Potawatomi made first contact with Europeans indirectly through warfare. By the 1600s, the Anglo-Dutch allied Iroquois Confederacy had depleted all the valuable pelts east of the St. Lawrence River and began raiding Algonquin tribes in Michigan. The invaders were looking to control the untapped resources of the western Great Lakes. Outmatched by superior weaponry, the Potawatomi and other tribes of …