The history of the Potawatomi is a story of physical survival and cultural endurance. The impact of the arrival of the Europeans to Turtle Island demanded the balance of deep-rooted traditions and the adaption of new ways of life. The traditional values of family, sharing and mutual respect are the center points of our cultural heritage. The legacy of our ancestors is keeping these values alive. As skillful hunters and traders, the Potawatomi warriors quickly stepped into the European and Indian fur trade in the Western Great Lakes. In addition to the wisdom of their elders and leaders, technical advantages such as birch-bark canoes, helped the Potawatomi to become important middlemen. Many communities prospered and new villages were founded in Wisconsin, to include Algoma, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Milwaukee, as well as Chicago, Illinios. By the end of the 18th century, the Potawatomi villages ranged from Northwestern Ohio through lower Michigan into Eastern Wisconsin.
Today the communities’ successful gaming operations provide a means to support tribal businesses, community projects, and attract new industries to the area while maintaining the integrity of the natural resources.