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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


Led by Segnak, Nuscotomek and prominent Gigo [Fish] Dodem member Naunongee, a Native force of over five hundred attacked the evacuating garrison, inflicting heavy casualties and seizing the fort in less than one hour.

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 …

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 …

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 …

Harmar’s Campaign


An important victory for the Native alliance during the Northwest Indian War, Harmar’s Campaign attempted to suppress Native attacks on settlers and garrisons in the Ohio Territory. United States General Josiah Harmar engaged in numerous ineffective retaliatory assaults on major tribal villages that amassed overwhelming casualties and defeat.