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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 …

American Revolutionary War


With war declared between the American Colonies and Britain, Potawatomi support divided geographically and economically. Aside from those exacting retribution, villages located in the vicinity of key U.S. and English military forts, such as the Detroit and St. Joseph Potawatomi, were often enticed or pressured into allying with neighboring garrisons. Additionally, communities or individuals reliant on Anglo goods for survival …

Battle of Fort Dearborn


Built by Americans in 1803 in what is present day Chicago, Fort Dearborn was constructed in response to the events of the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795). Its presence served as the primary American stronghold in Great Lakes territories illegally ceded to the U.S. by Great Britain. As the War of 1812 was underway, the Potawatomi, led by Segnak, Nuscotomek, and …

Battle of the Monongahela


The Battle of the Monongahela was one of the first major conflicts and victories for the Native-French alliance during the French and Indian War. It took place at the forks of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers, near present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is said that a Potawatomi warrior dreamt and foresaw the battle. Using the dream as a battle plan, the …

Battle of Tippecanoe


In an effort to weaken the Nativist movement led by Tenskwatawa “The Shawnee Prophet”, his brother and warrior Tecumseh, and their field general, Potawatomi Wabeno Main Poc, Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison and nearly one thousand troops marched on the Nativist capital known as Prophetstown. Intercepting the troops and mounting a defensive counter attack were hundreds of Native warriors, …

Battle(s) of Frenchtown


The battle(s) of Frenchtown were a succession of conflicts, within the War of 1812, fought between the Native-British alliance and the United States. The first Battle of Frenchtown, fought on January 18, 1813, was a U.S. victory led by Lieutenant Colonel William Lewis. Upon receiving the message that Frenchtown had been recaptured by the Americans, British Brigadier General Henry Proctor …

Beaver Wars


Seeking to expand their range and broker the thriving fur trade, the Dutch-supported Iroquois engaged in one of the earliest and longest territorial conflicts with the French-allied confederated Algonquin nations. Hoping to dominate the lucrative market, the Iroquois sought to leverage their European trade relationships into territorial expansion. Armed with British and Dutch weapons, they disrupted French trade and seized …

Bgemagen [War Club]


This contemporary artifact, styled after an ancient Potawatomi war club known as a bgemagen, was created by tribal member Bud Onzahwah. Crafted from wood, stone and leather, its historically ergonomic design eased storage, travel and use during battle. The bgemagen [war club] is part of the permanent collection and on exhibition at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center. Pre-dating …

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 …

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 …