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Neshnabek - Keepers of the Sacred Fire
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Potawatomi Indians

Potawatomi indians of the US and Canada. Potawatomi bands and clans, reservations and reserves, history, culture, contact information, powwow dates, indian casino, pictures, grants, language, religion. Potowatami indians today are divided into seven distinct bands in the United States and three bands in Canada. They are a Woodland Indian tribe. The Potowatami language belongs to the Algonquin language stock.

The Potawatomi name is a translation of the Ojibwe "potawatomink" meaning "people of the place of fire." It has also been translated by various sources as: Fire Nation, Keepers of the Sacred Fire, and People of the Fireplace - all of which refer to the role of the Potawatomi as the keeper of the council fire in an earlier alliance with the Ojibwe and Ottawa.

In their own language, the potowatami people call themselves Neshnabek, a Potawatomi word that refers to "original people". The Potowatomi also sometimes call themselves Anishinabe because at some time in the past, they were part of a larger tribe that split into three tribes.

They are also called the Adawadeny or Atowateany (Iroquois), Assistaeronon (Huron), Kunuhayanu (Caddo), Ouapou, Pekineni ( Fox), Pous, Poux, or Pu (French), Tcashtalalgi (Creek), Undatomatendi (Huron), Wahhonahah ( Miami), Wahiucaxa (Omaha), Wahiuyaha (Kansa), and Woraxa (Iowa, Missouri, Otoe, and Winnebago). Common misspellings of potowatami include Potowatami, Pattawatima, Putawatimes, Pouteouatims, and Poutouatami.

The oral history of this tribe says the Potawatomi originated in the Great Lakes area and more than likely in the area we now call Wisconsin. They then migrated toward the east and lived there along with the Ojibwa and the Odawa. As a result of a spiritual happening these tribes migrated back to the West and eventually returned to the Great Lakes area, where they were known as the Anishinabe.

It was here in the place known today as Sault Ste. Marie that the people divided into the three tribes as they are called today. The Chippewa (Ojibwa) were to become the oldest brother and the Keepers of the Faith. The Ottawa (Odawa), the middle brother, was to become the Keepers of the Trade, and the Potawatomi (Bodewadmi) the youngest brother was to become Keeper of the Fire. That is Keeper of the Sacred Fire that was carried by them as they traveled. It was also at this time that the brothers divided into different lands.

The Potawatomi then went to land located to the South of Sault Ste. Marie and at the time of first contact by the Europeans were living in what is today lower Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

The bands in the US include the Prairie Band Potawatomi in Kansas; Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma; Hannahville Indian Community in northern Michigan; Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band, in Michigan (also known as the Gun Lake Tribe); the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi of Athens, Michigan; Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians residing primarily in southern Michigan and northern Indiana. The Walpole Island First Nation community lives on an unceded island between the United States and Canada (their mail carries an Ontario address) and the Stoney Point and Kettle Point Bands live in Ontario, Canada. The Wasauksing First Nation (Parry Island) are located at Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

In Milwaukee, the potawatomi bingo casino is a popular destination. Forest County potawatomi have a museum and cultural center in Crandon, WI.

For more in depth information, click on the links below and in the menu to the left to learn more about the potowatami people, potowatami art, regalia, historical food, homes and shelters of potawatomi indians, the Neshnabek language, culture, and history.

Add to this resouce by posting your potawatomi articles or corrections here. If you are suggesting a correction, please give the URL of the page the error is on.

Michigan Indian Nations with Federal or State recognition
Tribes from the Algonquin language group
Potawatomi Tracks: The Ballad of Viet Nam and other stories
What is the meaning of the word kemosabe or Kemo Sabe?
Where Did Michigan's First People Live?
General cultural beliefs of Algonquin speaking tribes
Who were the Algonquin and who are they now ?
Indian tribes that lived in Michigan
History of the Anishinabeg (Ojibwe) people
Indigenous Languages Spoken in the United States
by number of speakers

Algonquian is a language group, not a tribe of Indians
Kansas Indians
Oklahoma Indian Tribes
Michigan Indians
Indiana Indians
Ontario First Nations

Algonquian Language Family Tree
Woodland Indian Tribes
Tribes of the Three Council Fires
Ottawa Indians (Odawa)
Chippewa Indians (Ojibwa, Ojibwe,
Ojibway, Anishinabe, Anishinabeg)

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