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Grade 4 - English Language
3.19 Reading Nonfiction - The Potawatomi

Directions: Read the following article and answer the questions. Then summarize the article and draw a picture illustrating the life of the Potawatomi. As a homework, find and read any nonfiction article and summarize it in your own words.

The Potawatomi

The Potawatomi are an American Indian tribe of the Great Lakes area. Along with the Ottawa and Ojibwa tribes, the Potawatomi came from the northeast to eastern shore of Lake Huron. This is believed to have happened sometime around 1400, after the North American climate became colder. The Ottawa remained near the French River and on Manitoulin and the other islands in Lake Huron, but the Potawatomi and Ojibwa continued north along the shoreline until they reached Sault St. Marie.

Around 1500, the Potawatomi crossed over and settled in the northern third of lower Michigan. Although separated, the three related tribes remembered their earlier alliance and referred to each other as the "three brothers." As the keepers of the council fire of this old alliance, the Potawatomi were called "potawatomink" or "people of the place of fire."

The Potawatomi originally provided for themselves as hunter/gatherers because they were too far north for reliable agriculture. Like the closely-related Ojibwa and Ottawa, their diet came from wild game, fish, wild rice, red oak acorns, and maple syrup, but the Potawatomi were adaptive.

After being forced by the Beaver Wars (1630-1700) to relocate to Wisconsin, they learned farming from the Sauk, Fox, Kickapoo, and Winnebago. When the French arrived at Green Bay, Potawatomi women were tending large fields of corn, beans, and squash. They even took their agriculture a step further and in time were known for their medicinal herb gardens. Agriculture was an extension of the women's role as gathers, but other than clearing the fields, the men remained hunters and warriors.

By 1660 the Potawatomi were agricultural, and their movement south after 1680 was most likely motivated by a desire for better soil and a longer growing season. Other things changed as European contact continued. Besides the switch to metal tools and firearms, the Potawatomi by the 1760s were abandoning birch bark canoes for horses "borrowed" from white settlers. This served well for buffalo hunts, first on the prairies of northern Indiana and Illinois, and later the Great Plains. One other skill they adopted was standard infantry tactics from their wars with the Americans, and during their fights in Kansas during the 1850s, the Pawnee experienced the devastating effect of continuous fire as Potawatomi warriors maintained a steady advance in two alternating ranks, the first kneeling and firing while the other stood to the rear and reloaded.

Early French accounts describe the Potawatomi as a little shorter, but more robust and darker skinned than other Algonquin. Otherwise, Potawatomi were a typical Great Lakes tribe. Summer villages were fairly large with rectangular, bark-covered (or woven brush) houses. After their buffalo hunt in the fall, they separated into small hunting camps of extended families. Winter homes were oval, dome-shaped wigwams resembling those of the Ojibwa. In later periods, most Potawatomi preferred log cabins much like their white neighbors. Warriors wore their hair long except in times of war when they shaved their heads except for a scalplock to which they added an upright roach of porcupine hair with an eagle feather. War paint was red and black. Women's hair was parted in the middle with a single long braid behind.

Q 1: The Potawatomi had long hair except during
harvest
winter
war
summer

Q 2: From the article you know that the Potawatomi were adaptive to their conditions because
they fought with the Ottawa and Ojibwa
they learned to farm when conditions were right
they hunted and gathered
they moved to a new place when faced with danger

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Question 4: This question is available to subscribers only!


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