The Potawatomi tribe is a group of Native Americans who eventually settled in the northeastern Wisconsin. This group of American Indians had an interesting existence; they farmed in the summer months and then the tribe divided up into smaller groups in the fall and moved to their winter hunting grounds.
This group of Indians takes its name from the word meaning "people of the place of the fire," and was originally from Michigan. As European settlers came to America and settled in the eastern portion of the continent, the Potawatomi Tribe, along with other Indian tribes, were pushed west.
The Potawatomi tribe didn't rely completely on hunting or agriculture to sustain itself. The men hunted for game and cought fish for the tribe to eat. The female members of the tribe were responsible for planting crops and tending to them in the warmer months of the year. When they were ready to be harvested, the women would take on these chores as well.
This tribe of American Indians lived in bark-covered houses during the spring, summer and early fall. When they moved to their winter hunting grounds, they fashioned wigwams for shelter. This type of dwelling is built in a dome shape and can be built and relocated, if necessary.
Poles are used to make a frame for the wigwam. Once this part of the shelter is in place, it can be covered with a variety of materials to keep out the elements. Grass, bark, cloth or hides could be used to cover the frame and keep the occupants warm and dry. An opening would be left in the roof of the structure to allow smoke from the fire to escape.
The tribe was made up of several bands who were located in specific geographic locations across the region. The Potawatomi tribe included clans of people who were descended from a single male ancestor. Marriages between different clans were arranged to create bonds between the various groups.
By the mid-1800s, the Potawatomi tribe had been relocated to a reservation in Kansas. They were known as the Prairie band at that point. Over time, the members of the Potawatomi tribe were exposed to the customs of the Plains Indians and adopted a number of them. In the 1860s, a number of the Potawatomi Indians moved to Oklahoma, which was called the Indian Territory then. In their new home, the tribe was called, Citizen Potawatomi Nation.