Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation

Mailing Address

16281 Q Road
Mayetta, KS 66509

Contact Information




Cultural History

The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has one of the riches and most colorful histories the world has ever seen. The tribe is a part of the large unit of the tribes residing in the Great Lakes years ago. The tribe since then was autonomous in and was living in the bountiful lands of the Great Lakes. The tribe did not settle only to the resources that they got from the Great Lakes but also traded with the neighboring tribes and the Whites to sustain their living. The first contact of the Indians with the non-Indians was in the year 1641. It became a central issue to the other tribal members because many of them were way too traditional and wanted to keep their lives the same way that they did without the non-natives. However, upon the contact with the non-natives, the tribe expanded into thirteen colonies or the so-called 13 fires. However, the non-Indians wanted more than friendship from the tribe. They wanted control. They wanted the tribal lands to be theirs and they did not hesitate to grab it from the tribe. The non-Indians wanted the lands for quarrying purposes, for building the metropolitan cities and for timber production.

The Potawatomi people were left homeless because they did not have a proof of the land that they owned. Instead, all they held on to was the belief that the land was theirs as told to them by their ancestors. The United States government disagreed and set boundaries for the territories of the tribe. When the treaty-making period of the United States came to be, several treaties ceded the land territories of the tribe and more policies resulted in tragedy for the tribal members.

One of the worst policies that the tribe has known is the Removal Act of 1830 wherein the tribe was not only ceded of their lands, but was also forced to leave their homelands. The tribe was encouraged to exchange their lands for the territories in the western portion of the Mississippi. The exchange paved way to the free exploitation and settlement of the other non-Indians and the Appalachians as well as the “Father of Waters”.

The Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1829 set aside two portions of the land which is near the Paw Paw Grove, in Illinois for the Potawatomi Chief Shab-eh-nay and his men in his band. The land, however, was illegally sold in the year 1849 through a public auction governed by the United States government. The land is still legally under the name of the Prairie band because it was not included in the cession treaties.

The forced migration to the West resulted in the Potawatomi tribe making momentary stops over in the Platte Grove County in Illinois in the middle of the eighteenth century and the Council Bluffs area of Iowa in the 1840’s. Both locations gave the tribe more than five million acres. The tribe moved to what is now known as Kansas after 1846. The tribe settled in the region called the Great American Desert. The area did not possess the qualities of the Great Lakes, but it was till enough to provide for the needs of the tribe. The reservation then included thirty square miles of land in a portion of the present-day Topeka. Today, the tribe is into business enterprises such as the Prairie Band Casino & Resort, the PBP and the Mayetta Oil Company.

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