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American Civil War


As American expansionism pushed land-hungry Americans west, the rapid admission of former Native lands, either through outright violence or forced coercion, reignited debates about the institution of slavery as practiced by Southern-American states. In the early 19th-century, conflict erupted as slave-owning states advocated for an equal number of slave states to be admitted for every free state, leading to instances …

Aptewen [Cane]


36.5 in L X 1.75 in W Currently on loan from the Kansas State Historical Society and on exhibition at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center is Abram Burnett’s cane. The wooden cane is painted black, with an iron bottom tip and a non-ferromagnetic metal handle. The metal handle is attached to a dirk [small dagger], concealed in the …

Beaubien, Madore B.


Madore Beaubien was the son of Jean Baptiste Beaubien who moved the Chicago area in 1816, after the Battle of Fort Dearborn. Jean Baptiste was a well-known fur trader, learning the business from Joseph Bailly. He married Mahnawbunokwe, the daughter of respected warrior and leader Shabbone, and had two children: Charles Henry and Madore. He then married Josette LaFromboise, daughter …

Bergeron, Francis Xavier


Francis Xavier Bergeron was a French-Canadian born near Quebec, Canada, and arrived around the Kankakee area in the late 1830s. After removal west of the Mississippi, a Potawatomi tribal member named Watchekee or Watseka often made trips back to Illinois. She and Francis met on one of these excursions and wed around 1840. They had four children: Jean Batiste, Catherine …

Bourassa, Joseph Napoleon


Joseph Napoleon Bourassa was a Chicago born Métis of Neshnabé and French descent. As a youth, Joseph was a student of Baptist missionary Issac McCoy, attending both the Carey Mission in Michigan and Hamilton Literary & Theological Institution in New York. Joseph would later attend and teach at the Choctaw Academy in Kentucky, where he studied law and medicine. During …

Bruno Family


Like many French-Canadian settlers with ties to the Potawatomi, the Brunos were once successful fur traders and trappers. Anthony Bruneau was the son of a French settler and an unknown Blackfoot woman from around Browning, Montana. Anthony was born in Canada, and family records indicate the Potawatomi may have adopted him. Anthony married a woman named Julia, and they had …

Burnett Family


The Burnett family has a long, rich history with the Potawatomi people. French fur trader William Burnett settled on the St. Joseph River near Niles, Michigan, after the Revolutionary War. He established two successful trading posts and eventually married Kaukima, daughter of revered Potawatomi leader Nanaquiba and sister to Topinabee. Kaukima and William had seven children: James, Abraham, John, Isaac, …

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center


The Cultural Heritage Center houses the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s museum, archives, research center & library, Tribal Heritage Productions, veteran memorial, Tribal Language and Tribal Enrollment Departments. It was envisioned as a living history museum and cultural center, where tribal members, the Native American community and the public at large could learn about the culture and history of the Citizen Potawatomi …

Darling Family


The Darling family’s Potawatomi ties began with the marriage of Elizabeth Ouilmette and Lucius (Louis) Ripley Darling. Darling was of Scottish and Irish descent and operated a ferry. He married Elizabeth on July 15, 1936. She was the daughter of Antoine, known as one of the first residents of Chicago, and Archange Chevalier Ouilmette. Archange’s mother, Chopa, was the daughter …

Gwzegé’wen [Bowl and Dice]


Played throughout the year is a popular game reserved primarily for women called gwzegé’wen [bowl and dice]. Considered a great honor, only certain women are allowed to host games and possess equipment, a right conferred through a dream. Traditionally, women were responsible for hosting annual dodem [clan] feasts in honor of their bowl and dice set. Gaming equipment includes: (1) …