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Wabaunsee [He Walks at Dawn]

Wabaunsee was a powerful and influential headman among the Potawatomi, Odawa and Ojibwe villages of Illinois and Indiana. With a reputation that preceded him, Wabaunsee was not only a noted veteran of the Osage War, Battle of Tippecanoe and War of 1812, but an esteemed religious leader within the ancient Midewiwin Medicine Lodge. Openly opposed to American expansion, yet understanding …

Wabshkebyek [Sage]

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

War of 1812

With the United States and Great Britain on the brink of a second war, tensions between Northwestern tribes and settlers reached an impasse. Angered by their defeat at Tippecanoe, Tecumseh, Main Poc and their Native confederacy increased assaults on settlers in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, forcing many to sell their homesteads and flee the Territory. All attempts by the U.S. …

Watseka [Daughter of the Evening Star]

Watseka, also known as Watchekee, was the daughter of respected warrior and leader Shabbone and Monashki. Watseka had a reputation for being intelligent and beautiful. Family records indicate she was born during a bright star. Potawatomi often used natural phenomenon to denote time rather than years. After the Potawatomi signed the 1833 Treaty of Chicago, she was among those who …

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 …

Wilmette, Antoine

Antoine Ouilmette [Wilmette] was a French-Canadian fur trader and early resident of Fort Dearborn [Chicago]. As an agent for the American Fur Company, Ouilmette move to the area in 1790 and worked for well-known trader John Kinzie. Here he married Archange Chevalier in 1796, daughter of Francois and Marianne-Chopa. The couple had eight children. Due to Archange’s Potawatomi heritage and …

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.

Winter, George

George Winter was an English-born artist known for his chronicles of 18th century American life and geography. Much like his contemporaries, Winter was driven by adventure and eager to capture the vanishing culture of the Native American. While in Ohio, he learned of the approaching Potawatomi removal from Indiana. Coincidentally, Potawatomi emigration and annuity negotiations were held in Winter’s Washington …

Wishkpemishkos [Sweet Grass]

Sweet grass and its smoke are used for purification. It is considered a gift from and the hair of Mother Earth, gathered and braided to pay homage.