Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community

Mailing Address





Cultural History

Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community's historical data dates back to 1870. The story behind their historical move to another land has resemblance to most of the tribes who chose to migrate across the Turtle Island. Their folklores suggest the story that once, the tribe, together with the Neshnabek, once lived together peacefully in the Eastern Doorway. Eastern Dorrway is now more commonly known as the Nova Scotia. It was during that time, it was also said that all the Indian tribes spoke the same language and that Indian tribes were sprawling. Many historians classified the Potawatomi, the Ottawa and the Chippwea to the Algonquian family who spoke the same language. However, others argued and said that the better term to refer to these three tribes is the “Three Fires Confederacy”. The Three Fires Confederacy is separate from the Three Fires Society. It was part of their history that a prophet actually told the tribe that if they do not migrate to the West, their whole tribe will be destroyed. This triggered many of them to move to the west while some remained in their homelands. 
While traveling, the tribe came across Michicot in Wisconsin. The tribe then became curious of the history behind the name because of its resemblance to the Meshigaud. Meshigaud happened to be a Potawatomi Chief. His full ame was Abraham Meshigaud. He was one of the signatories of an important document signed by the Chiefs and the headmen. The name originated from the legs of a Homed Owl whose legs were fluffed with white feathers. This type of owl is one of the most significant symbols among the Potawatomi people thus; it is often mimicked during festivities. Abraham’s grandfather was another Indian whose real name was Nayyatoshingh. After the death of his grandfather, Abraham, along with the other band members decided to move to Cedar River, Michigan. Likewise, Abraham’s father was Obwaquaunk or Thunder Back. He turned out to be the Chief of the United Nations of Chippewa, the Ottawa and the Potawatomi more commonly known as the Three Fires Confederacy. Another prominent name in the history of the Potawatomi people is the great grandfather of Chief Meshigaud, named Mongezet or Big Foot. According to some artifcacts, Big Foot led his band to the West of the Mississippe River during the time of the forced removal. After two years, he and his men returned to their homeland. Their main reason for not staying in the west of Mississippi for a long time was the lack of sugar Maple trees. It was during that time when the sugar maple trees were very significant in their lives due to its medicinal value. Peter Marksman was the first one who urged the Chiefs to sign the treaty after loaning some money intended for homesteads. This was after the Cedar River incident where black pox or the chickenpox became dominant. The tribe was instantly fooled after the trade. The tribe received a gift-wrapped box which contained a scab. Inside the scab was chickenpox virus that killed more than one hundred families. The trade proved to be more than just a trade, but the start of a germ warfare. Only eleven families survived the tragic incident and their descendants are the ones who are in the Hannaville reservation today who are engaged in several enterprises, the most popular of which is their community school.

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