Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
PINE CREEK INDIAN RESERVATION Historically, the Potawatomi have been known as the "Keepers of the Fire." The "Keepers of the Fire" distinction has endured the test of time and the Potawatomi nations from the United States and Canada work to strengthen their tribal nations through unity.
Almost 900 Potawatomi Gathered by Saturday Morning
The annual Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations affords the Potawatomi that opportunity.
Much needed rain fell last Thursday and Friday on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation, south of Battle Creek, Michigan, where the Potawatomi convened the annual Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations.
By Saturday, the rains had subsided, but the wet grounds did not dampen the spirit and vibrancy of the Gathering. With a sacred fire burning on this historic Indian reservation, almost 900 Potawatomi had registered for the Gathering by mid-morning on Saturday.
This year's Gathering was hosted by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, based at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation.
Today, the Potawatomi nations are scattered from Ontario, Canada through the Great Lakes region to Kansas and Oklahoma.
Even though the Potawatomi nations are scattered, the nations host their Gathering each August.
All of the Potawatomi nations from the United States were represented at Pine Creek. Present were: the Citizens Potawatomi Nation - Shawnee, Oklahoma; Forest County Potawatomi Community - Crandon, Wisconsin; Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community - Wilson, Michigan; Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi - Fulton, Michigan; Match-E-Be-Nash- She-Wish-Band of Pottawatomi Indians, commonly known as the Gun Lake Tribe - Dorr, Michigan; Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation - Mayetta, Kansas; and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians - Dowagiac, Michigan.
Two Potawatomi Nations from Canada were present: Walpole Island First Nation - Walpole Island, Ontario and Wasauksing First Nation - Parry Sound, Ontario.
Potawatomi come together to share success stories and ideas.
“I liked the Gathering - even though it rained - the friendships, the sharing that takes place and meeting new friends are what makes it all fun,”
said Adele Altiman, from Walpole Island First Nation.
Each Potawatomi nation maintains its own separate tribal independent entity. The Gathering seeks to strengthen the nations collectively by coming together to share success stories and ideas.
While most of the Gathering's events took place on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation, several conferences were held at the Firekeepers Casino in nearby Battle Creek, Michigan. Conferences were a gaming conference, an all council conference and a judicial conference. The Firekeepers Casino is owned by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.
The Gathering also seeks to strengthen the Potawatomi culture through a series of workshops that were held that included: storytelling, black ash basket making, hand drum making, beadwork and others.
“I like the green of Michigan, ”
said Angie Mosqueda, tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, who journeyed to Michigan from Kansas.
“I like seeing a lot of our people come together.”
On Saturday evening, Mosqueda and her family dressed in regalia danced in the annual powwow that brings over 800 Potawatomi together. Mosqueda's mother is former Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Jackie Mitchell.
The 2013 Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations will be hosted by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Dowagiac, Michigan.
posted August 13, 2012 7:59 am edt