Who Are the Potawatomi Indians?


Quick Answer

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation are a federally recognized Native American tribe with headquarters located in Oklahoma. The tribe originally lived in the Great Lakes region of the United States, but they were forced from their land in 1838 by federal government order.

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Full Answer

The Potawatomi were part of the Three Fires Council along with the Ojibwe and Odawa tribes. The Potawatomi originally held 89 million acres, but their land was significantly reduced in size through a series of treaties with the United States beginning in 1789. As white settlers moved into the area, the government moved the Potawatomi to smaller reservations in Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. In 1861, the tribe was divided by a treaty that demanded the Potawatomi give up their tribal affiliation and become United States citizens. Those that chose not to give up their tribal affiliation migrated to Oklahoma.

To preserve their culture, the Potawatomi host a Family Reunion Festival and the Gathering of Tribes each year. The Family Reunion Festival is held annually on the final weekend in June. Only tribal members and their guests can attend this event. The Gathering of Nations is hosted each year by one of the nine bands of Potawatomi. The Gathering provides the Potawatomi an opportunity to come together and celebrate their heritage.

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