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The Potawatomi Eastern Woodland Indians

The Potawatomi were an native American tribe that is not very well known, but that played an important part in American History.

The Potawatomi Indians were first located in western Michigan, then moved to northern Wisconsin, and then into northern Indiana and central Illinois. In what was called the “Trail of Death” the Potawatomi was forcibly relocated. The Potawatomi from Indiana and Illinois were moved through two states to Osawatomie, Kansas. This happened because of the fighting between the Indians and the whites. Potawatomi Food The Potawatomi Indians farmed and ate vegetables such as; beans, peas, squash, melons, and corn. They also hunted down buffalo. The Potawatomi liked the taste of a seed-bearing grass called wild rice. Tobacco was also an important food. The Potawatomi woman made “fene” which was beech tree nuts, roasted and pounded into flour for bread. They ate soup made withwild rice and blueberries and puddings made from squash and pumpkins. They also gathered maple syrup. During a special feast the following may have been served: boiled white fish, boiled deer tongue with breast, two hens, hind feet of bear, tail of beaver and maple syrup broth. Obtaining Food When the Potawatomitribe was younger, they were mostly hunters and gatherers, picking berries and nuts and hunting deer, fish and other animals withspears and wooden clubs.

But after being pushed out of hunting grounds, they learned to farm from their neighboring tribes. The women were in charge of planting, nurturing, and harvesting the plants. Spouts and buckets were used to gather maple sap and knockers for harvesting wild rice. The men’s job was to go out hunting for meat with a bow and arrows. In the winter, the Pottawatomie’s used snowshoes for mobility. PotawatomiHousing There were two types of dwellings that the Pottawatomie’s would call homes. One was a dome-shaped house that was called a wigwam. A wigwam is made by taking spruce poles and tying them together at the top withlengths of a spruce root. Then they stood the poles up and spread them apart at the bottom until they formed a cone shape. They covered the out side withbirch bark. The other building was a rectangular structure called a lodge. These buildings were constructed with a wooden frame. The frame was then covered with pieces of bark sewn together or wooden planks, or boards. The inside of the building had a pit in the middle which had a fire in it to be used for cooking. The families would share the fireplace in the middle. Potawatomi Weapons The weapons that the Potawatomi used were very simple and traditional. The weapon included bows and arrows, axes, spears, and wooden clubs. The bows and arrows were made by hand from wood, and were used for hunting and war.

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