Lecture 11 Week 12 1 Week 12 Lecture 11 April 11 - 17 Potawatomi Part 1 Introduction Ethnographic Sources Three Territories Protohistoric Estate Refuge Area Tribal Estate Subsistence Dual Economy Prairie Forest European Contact, the Fur Trade, and Changes The Nineteenth Century Introduction The Potawatomi are an Algonkian-speaking tribe which has lived in the Great Lakes region for at least four centuries. Oral traditions of the Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Ottawa assert that at one time all three tribes were one people who lived at the Straits of Mackinac. From there, they split off into three separate groups, and the Potawatomi were "Keepers of the Sacred Fire." As such, they were the leading tribe of the alliance the three Indian nations formed after separating from one another. Linguistic, archaeological, and historical evidence suggests that the Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Ottawa did indeed descend from a common ethnic origin. The three languages are almost identical. In their own language, the word Potawatomi means "Keepers of the Sacred Fire," but they call themselves "Neshnabek," which means "the True People." Much of the similarity between the Potawatomi and their neighbors including the Sac, Fox, Menominee, Ojibwa and Kickapoo has been attributed to the “permeability” (or openness) of their cultural boundaries. Many Potawatomi villages contained members of other tribe. There are some features that mark the Potawatomi as distinct however as follows: a unique language a unique oral tradition very clearly defined territorial boundaries(claim to territory) Additionally, in contrast with many of their neighbors, the political power and influence of the Potawatomi grew progressively over time. Ethnographic Sources Charles Callender
Lecture 11 Week 12 2 1962 Social organization of the Central Algonkian Indians . MPM Publications in Anthropology. Milwaukee. James A. Clifton 1977 The Prairie People: Continuity and Change in Potawatomi Culture, 1665-1965 . Regents Press of Kansas. Lawrence. Alanson Skinner 1924 The Mascouten or Prairie Potawatomi Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee 6(1-3). Milwaukee. The Callender source focuses on social organization and on language. Clifton is known as the most significant ethnographer of the Potawatomi however he failed to recognize the “duality” of the Potawatomi as well as the ongoing shifts in the social structure of the Potawatomi. Finally Skinner worked with the Potawatomi but confused them with the Mascouten. Three Territories When Jean Nicolet arrived at Green Bay in 1634, he met a few Potawatomi there. At this time, the Potawatomi lived in Michigan, and any Potawatomi at Green Bay were most probably visiting. This situation changed dramatically in the 1640s and 1650s when the League of the Iroquois in upstate New York began to raid Indian tribes throughout the Great Lakes region to monopolize the regional fur trade. Prior to 1641 the Potawatomi were living in the southwestern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan (protohistoric estate) . Like other tribes
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