Potawatomi Indian Artifacts

Interested in discovering Indian artifacts of the Potawatomi tribe? Do you want to learn about an artifact unique to the Potawatomi Indians? Read our guide for more facts and information…

The Potawatomi originally settled and lived in the north central United States also known as the Great Lakes area. The diversity of the region meant that the Potawatomi lived and flourished in both woodlands and on the prairies. The diversity of these regions meant that the Potawatomi formed an average of three sub groups that each adopted their own unique variations on the culture of the Potawatomi. For most of the Indians of the tribe life was primarily a hunter and gatherer based existence, although agriculture would eventually gain more significance. The agricultural lifestyle gained prominence as the nomadic life diminished and settlements became more stable.

The Potawatomi like many other Indian tribes faced the trials of coping with European settlement. During European expansion westward many of the Indians were relocated to Kansas and Oklahoma in the established Indian Territory. The relocation was not always met with acceptance and many of the Indians chose to flee to Canada, specifically Ontario, during the removals to remain in a geographically similar region. Today around 28 000 Potawatomi continue to live in the region. The population not only diminished at the hands of the Europeans but also due to wars with other neighboring tribes.


Wampum is an artifact unique to Potawatomi culture. Wampum is the Indian term used to refer to beads. Wampum specifically was a combination of white and purple shell beads. These beads were obtained by the Potawatomi in the region making the artifact unique to their culture. The artifact was important to the Potawatomi but was also respected by neighboring tribes as the material was at times used in trade as a form of currency. The artifact may have been used as currency; however, it was much more highly valued as an art material to the Potawatomi.

Tools of the Potawatomi

The Potawatomi as hunters and gathers and later famers essentially required a vast amount of handcrafted tools to sustain their lifestyle; these tools today make excellent and insightful artifacts. The Potawatomi were strong fisherman and used a combination of spears and nets to capture the fish. The spears traditionally were made of a stone point and a wooden shaft, although variations do exist. The region that the Potawatomi inhabited is also rich in maple trees and through artifacts it is clear the Indians utilized this natural resource. Spouts and buckets, usually made of wood, have been found and these artifacts would have been utilized for tapping maple syrup from the trees. The buckets used and now discovered as artifacts also serve to illustrate the basketry abilities of the Potawatomi. The Potawatomi lived in a northern region and were subject to colder weather including snow. The Indians had to adjust and adapt to this environment in order to sustain their lifestyle and be able to hunt in snowy conditions. Snowshoes have been discovered as artifacts of the Indians indicating that even during periods of extreme snow the Potawatomi were able to travel with relative ease. Bows and Arrows along with arrowheads and wooden clubs have also been found as artifacts which demonstrate the varieties of weapons used by the Indians.

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