Sample Chapter - Pokegon Indiana State Park - History of the Park

Sample Chapter
Pokegon Indiana State Park
Chapter title – History of the Park

The Potawatomi tribe lived in the region now occupied by Pokagon The original name of the park was to be Lake James State Park, however that was changed to reflect the history and heritage of the Potawatomi tribe that had inhabited the region. State Park. The name of the park derives from two tribal leaders, Leopold and Simon Pokagon, that led the tribe in the early 1800’s.
Potawatomi Tribe in Indiana
The word “Potawatomi” derives from the Ojibwe word, “Boodewaadamii.” The Potawatomi used the name “Bodéwadmi ,” which means “Keeper of the Fire.” This name is in reference to the alliance between the Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Ottawa tribes, referred to as the Council of Three Fires. The tribe speaks a form of Algonquian, which makes the tribe akin to the Delaware, Illiniwek, Kickapoo, Menominee, Miami, and Sauk and Fox tribes.
Early in the Seventeenth Century, the Potawatomi tribe lived in southwestern Michigan. Iroquois expansion during the Beaver Wars with the Iroquois in the Seventeenth Century drove them out. This war was fueled by Dutch and English desire for furs, which were abundant in the northern regions. The tribes of the Iroquois League initiated a series of wars to expand their territory into the Great Lakes area in the Seventeenth Century. The wars displaced many tribes, including elements of the Shawnee, the Huron, Odawa, Ojibwe, Mississaugas, Potawatomi, and the Miami. The forced migration left Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and parts of the Ohio country almost depopulated of native tribes. Sometime around 1687 the Algonquin tribes of the Great Lakes area struck back against the Iroquois and began taking back their lands. During this period, the tribe moved into the Green Bay area. During the middle part of the Eighteenth Century, they expanded into what is now northern Indiana. The Potawatomi villages in Indiana were Abercronk, Ashkum, Aubbeenaubbee, Checkawkose, Chekase, Chichipe Outipe, Chippoy (Chipaille), Comoza, Elkhart (Miami), Kethtippecagnunk (Wea), Kinkash, Macon, Massac, Mamotway, Maukekose, Menominee, Menoquet, Mesquawbuck, Metea, Moran, Mota, Muskwawasepeotan, Pierrish, Rum, Tassinong, Tippecanoe, Toisa, Wanatah, Wimego, Winamac, and Wonongoseak.
Tribal Organization
Each member of a tribal community belonged to a clan, which is a group of families. Clan relatives raised the children, imparting them with the traditions of the clan. Normally, one of the clan leaders became the village chief. Among the Potawatomi, the village chief could be either a man or woman.
Potawatomi Lifestyle
Potawatomi women wore long deerskin dresses, the men breechcloths, leggings, and deerskin shirts. Both men and women wore moccasins to protect the feet. Many men wore a leather headband with one or two feathers stuck in the back. Some men also wore otter-fur turbans. Both men and women had long hair, but during times of war, the men would shave their heads Mohawk style. The tribe used both wigwams and rectangular lodges as houses. Wigwams were oval huts constructed from woven reeds. The wigwams served as winter homes in the hunting camps. They built the lodges using bent saplings and covered them with birch bark. The tribe lived in these lodges in the summer when they occupied their villages. They also used birch bark to build canoes. They would also build dugout canoes. For overland travel, the tribe used dogs to pack supplies. The tribe migrated frequently after the soil in their gardens became depleted. Men cleared the fields for planting, hunted and served as warriors to protect the tribe. Women tended the garden and raised the children. In the fall, the men hunted buffalo. After this hunt, the tribal members left the villages and formed smaller hunting camps.
Potawatomi Diet
The Potawatomi women grew corn, beans, squash, and tobacco. They also gathered wild rice, nuts, berries and other fruits for the tribe. Men hunted whitetail deer and elk. They used traps and snares for smaller game like rabbits, squirrels and birds. In the spring, they tapped sugar maple trees and boiled the sap to make maple sugar. They also grew medicinal herbs in their gardens.

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