Potawatomi Nation Case Study

How did members of the Potawatomi Nation, who originally lived in Michigan, end up living in Oklahoma? These sources allow you to further investigate this story of American Indian removal.

During their history, the Potawatomi Nation signed many treaties with the United States, giving up more and more of their lands. This treaty finally forced the Potawatomi Nation to remove to Indian Territory.

Be the Political Analyst

Why was the 1836 Treaty with the Potawatomi made?

  1. How much land was the Potawatomi Nation expected to give up in this treaty? (They originally owned much more.)
  2. How much was the Potawatomi Nation being paid?
  3. What else was the Potawatomi Nation losing or gaining?
  4. What was the United States gaining?
  5. Challenge Question
  6. What is a possible result of the rule created in Article 4 of this treat? Share your idea with others to compare possible outcomes.
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Potawatomi treaty

Treaty with the Potawatomi, 1836. Courtesy National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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Articles of a treaty made and concluded at a camp near Yellow river, in the State of Indiana, between Abel C. Pepper, commissioner on the part of the United States and Pe-pin-a-waw, No-taw-kah & Mac-kah-tah-mo-ah, chiefs and headmen of the Potawattimie tribe of Indians, and their bands on the fifth day of August in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-six.

Article 1

The above named chiefs and headmen and their bands hereby cede to the United States twenty two sections of land reserved for them by the second article of the treaty between the United States and the Potawattimie tribe of Indians on Tippecanoe river, on the twenty-sixth day of October in the year eighteen hundred and thirty-two.

Article 2

In consideration of the cession aforesaid, the United States stipulate to pay to the above named chiefs and headmen and their bands, the sum of fourteen thousand and eighty dollars in specie after the ratification of this treaty, and on or before the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof.

Article 3

The above named chiefs and headmen and their bands agree to remove to the country west of the Mississippi river, provided for the Potawattimie nation by the United States within two years.

Article 4

At the request of the above named band it is stipulated that after the ratification of this treaty, the United States shall appoint a commissioner, who shall be authorized to pay such debts of the said band as may be proved to his satisfaction to be just, to be deducted from the amount stipulated in the second article of this treaty.

Article 5

The United States stipulate to provide for the payment of the necessary expenses attending the making and concluding this treaty.

Article 6

This treaty, after the same shall be ratified by the President and Senate of the United States, shall be binding upon both parties.

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These are the Articles of a treaty, which was made and concluded at a camp near Yellow river, in the State of Indiana. This treaty was made between Abel C. Pepper, a government official, who represented the United States and Pe-pin-a-waw, No-taw-kah and Mac-kah-tah-mo-ah, who were chiefs and headmen of the Potawatomi tribe of Indians, and their people on August 5, 1836.

Article 1

The chiefs and headmen listed above and their people do now give up to the United States 22 sections of land. These sections of land had been reserved for them by the second article of the treaty between the United States and the Potawatomi tribe of Indians on Tippecanoe river, on October 26, 1832.

Article 2

Because the Potawatomi have given up the 22 sections of land, the United States promises to pay the chiefs and headmen and their people the amount of $14,080. The United States will pay this amount after this treaty is approved, which should be on or before the first day of May of 1837.

Article 3

Within two years, the chiefs and headmen and their people agree to move to the country west of the Mississippi river. The United States has provided this land for the Potawatomi nation.

Article 4

The Potawatomi have requested that after this treaty has been approved, the United States shall choose a government official who will pay any of the Potawatomis’ debts that he believes to be fair. The government official will take the money needed to pay the Potawatomis’ debts out of the $14,080 that the United States agreed to pay the Potawatomi in the second article of this treaty.

Article 5

The United States promises to provide for the payment of the necessary expenses that go along with making this treaty.

Article 6

After this treaty has been approved by the President and Senate of the United States, both the Potawatomi and the United States must do what they have agreed to do in this treaty.

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