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Civilization of the American Indian #145: The Potawatomis, Keepers of the Fire


Civilization of the American Indian #145: The Potawatomis, Keepers of the Fire Cover

ISBN13: 9780806120690
ISBN10: 080612069x
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The Potawatomi Indians were the dominant tribe in the region of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and southern Michigan during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Active participants in the fur trade, and close friends with many French fur traders and government leaders, the Potawatomis remained loyal to New France throughout the colonial period, resisting the lure of the inexpensive British trade goods that enticed some of their neighbors into alliances with the British. During the colonial wars Potawatomi warriors journeyed far to the south and east to fight alongside their French allies against Braddock in Pennsylvania and other British forces in New York.

As French fortunes in the Old Northwest declined, the Potawatomis reluctantly shifted their allegiance to the British Crown, fighting against the Americans during the Revolution, during Tecumsehand#8217;s uprising, and during the War of 1812.

The advancing tide of white settlement in the Potawatomi lands after the wars brought many problems for the tribe. Resisting attempts to convert them into farmers, they took on the life-style of their old friends, the French traders. Raids into western territories by more warlike members of the tribe brought strong military reaction from the United States government and from white settlers in the new territories. Finally, after great pressure by government officials, the Potawatomis were forced to cede their homelands to the United States in exchange for government annuities. Although many of the treaties were fraudulent, government agents forced the tribe to move west of the Mississippi, often with much turmoil and suffering.

This volume, the first scholarly history of the Potawatomis and their influence in the Old Northwest, is an important contribution to American Indian history. Many of the tribeand#8217;s leaders, long forgotten, such as Main Poc, Siggenauk, Onanghisse, Five Medals, and Billy Caldwell, played key roles in the development of Indian-white relations in the Great Lakes region. The Potawatomi experience also sheds light on the development of later United States policy toward Indians of many other tribes.

About the Author

R. David Edmunds, Professor of History at Indiana University, is an award-winning author of Native American histories.

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Kathleen O'Brien Blair, September 1, 2008 (view all comments by Kathleen O'Brien Blair)
Dr. R. David Edmunds, Professor of American History at University of Texas at Dallas, and 46th President of the Western History Association, is one of the leading white academic authorities on the cultures and histories of some American Indian Peoples in the 18th and 19th centuries. He has written extensively on the Shawnee and their partners in Tecumseh's Confederation, among them, the Potawatomi, and has been an historical consultant to several tribal nations.

This book is deeply researched, heavily foot-noted, and has a huge and rich bibliography; Edmunds left no stone un-turned.

The Potawatomi are a very tough subject because they are a People with numerous bands which are widely dispersed across the American Heartland. They are also one Tribe of three associated Peoples of the Three Fires Confederacy, along with their kin the Ojibwa (Chippewa) and the Ottawa. Tracking these great warriors and expert watermen across the Old Ohio Territory was no small feat and Edmunds has accomplished it brilliantly. In so doing, he has given a rich description of the political savvy of the Potawatomi as well as their formidable skills in war. He illustrates how well they were able to take on, and defeat the Iroquois, when no one else had been successful at it.

I found this book while researching a captivity narrative in my own family history, and it has been a huge help to me in understanding the imperatives that led the Potawatomi, and to help me track my own kin during their captivity.

A must read by an authority on the subject.
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Product Details

Edmunds, R. D.
University of Oklahoma Press
Edmunds, R. David
Norman :
Native American Studies
United States - General
North American
Middle west
Potawatomi Indians
Potawatomi Indians -- History.
Ethnic Studies - Native American Studies
Native American-General Native American Studies
Edition Description:
The Civilization of the American Indian series ;
Series Volume:
2810v. 145
Publication Date:
September 1987
39 bandw illus., 5 maps
9 x 6 x 0.7 in 1.16 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Native American » Northeast
History and Social Science » US History » General

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