Collection: A Sketch of the Pottawatomie

Shau-be-na Potawatami Chief

The following incidents in the early history of Shau-be-na are principally taken from his own statements, and the truth of them, no person acquainted with the old chief will doubt. My first acquaintance with Shau-be-na occurred nearly forty years ago, while his whole band, one hundred and forty-two in number, were hunting on Bureau River, Illinois. Being encamped near my father’s residence, I visited them almost daily for many weeks, and always felt myself at home in the old chief’s wigwam. Shau-be-na was above the medium size, tall and straight, with broad shoulders and intelligent face, while his bearing...

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Potawatomi Settlement in Illinois

Soon after their discovery by LaSalle, the great Iroquois Confederation, whose battlefields were strewn with their victims almost from the Atlantic coast to the Wabash, and from the Great Lakes, and even north of them, to the Alleghenies and the Ohio, finally extended their enterprises to the Illinois Tribe. With a great slaughter they defeated this hitherto invincible people, laid waste their great city, and scattered them in broken bands over their wide domain. From this terrible blow they never recovered. For a century later they struggled with waning fortunes against northern encroachments, till finally they were exterminated by...

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Potawatomi’s Secure All Illinois Tribe Territory

This great event in Indian history secured to the Pottawatomie all the territory then belonging to the Illinois, and the exclusive right to which was undisputed by other tribes. It extended their possessions to the lands of the Peoria on Peoria Lake. They occupied to the Wabash as far south as Danville and even beyond. On the other side they occupied to the Hock River, though their right to a strip of land on the east side of that river was disputed by the Sac and Fox Indians who ranged the prairies west of there and beyond the Mississippi....

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Potawatomi Tribe Declared Citizens

In several cases advanced aboriginal Indian tribes, have by act of Congress been declared citizens and endowed with all the rights and privileges of citizenship. Still they were conscious of their inability to properly exercise and enjoy those rights and privileges. They knew they could not exercise the franchise side by side with the white man, with the same degree of intelligence and judgment, and so they scorned to use it. Perhaps it would have been better for them could they have ignored the real distinction which existed between them and the white race, and persuaded themselves, or been...

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End of the Illinois Tribe

It was very different, however, with the Prairie Indians. They despised the cultivation of the soil as too mean even for their women and children, and deemed the captures of the chase as the only fit food for a valorous people. The corn, which grew like grass from the earth which they trod beneath their feet was not proper meat to feed their greatness. Nor did they open their ears to the lessons of love and religion tendered them by those who came among them and sought to do them good. If they tolerated their presence they did not...

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Great War Dance

I shall close this paper with an account of the great war dance which was performed by all the braves which could be mustered among the five thousand Indians here assembled. The number’ who joined in the dance was probably about eight hundred. Although I cannot give the precise day, it must have occurred about the last of August 1835. It was the last war dance ever performed by the natives on the ground where now stands this great city, though how many thousands had preceded it no one can tell. They appreciated that it was the last on...

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A Sketch of the Potawatomi

More than thirty-seven years ago, when I first became a citizen of Chicago, I found this whole country occupied as the hunting grounds of the Pottawatomie Indians. I soon formed the acquaintance of many of their chiefs, and this acquaintance ripened into a cordial friendship. I found them really intelligent and possessed of much information resulting from their careful observation of natural objects. I traveled with them over the prairies, I hunted and I fished with them, I camped with them in the groves, I drank with them at the native springs, of which they were never at a...

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