Manual THE LAST BLACKROBE OF INDIANA AND THE POTAWATOMI TRAIL OF DEATH

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It was at the treaty council in Wisconsin where Leonard Pokagon first enters into the American historical record. In the treaty council, hosted by William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame , lavish gifts and promises were heaped upon the Indian delegates. While the treaty council was held ostensibly to promote peace among the tribes, the primary motivation for the council was to promote the fur trade.

The treaty also sought to establish firm boundaries regarding tribal lands. While the boundaries were agreed upon in principle, the final determination of the actual boundaries was to be determined by the United States. The fur trade was an important element in the American strategy for obtaining Indian land. Following the suggestion of Thomas Jefferson, the United States licensed traders simply extended almost unlimited credit to both the tribes and to individual tribal members.

Then the traders would turn to the U. Christianity also played an important role in federal policies regarding Indians. The Baptist missionary Isaac McCoy had been initially welcomed by the Potawatomi because of the promise of economic advantages of having a mission and becoming Christian. It was soon apparent, however, that McCoy was an advocate of Indian removal. From the Baptist viewpoint, the only way to save the Potawatomi from the corrupt influence of the American settlers was to have them move far away.

Leopold Pokagon was strongly opposed to removal. Thus, in he went to Detroit where he met with Father Gabriel Richard and formally requested that a blackrobe the Indian term for a Jesuit priest which referred to the black cassock which they wore be assigned to them. Pokagon felt that an affiliation with the Catholic Church would be a countervailing force to the Baptists and thus they would be an important ally in their fight against removal.

By converting to Catholicism, the St. In , the Americans wanted more Potawatomi land, so they convened a treaty council in Chicago. Here the Americans recognized Billy Caldwell and Alexander Robinson, both of whom were loyal to the United States, as Potawatomi chiefs and negotiated the land cessions with them. Under the treaty, the Potawatomi were to remove to Missouri where they would receive five million acres of land and would be provided with annuities for twenty years. The treaty agreement also covered all debts to the traders.

However, Leopold Pokagon emphatically opposed giving up more land.

Pokagon was successful in negotiating an amendment which would allow his band to remain in Michigan. In the negotiations he emphasized that he and his people were Catholics and this helped secure the amendment.

Catholic Metaphysical Musings from the Heartland

In , the Potawatomi moved into the Platte Country of Missouri and soon found that American settlers waned them to move out of the area. Two years later these Potawatomi broke into two groups: one moved to the area of Council Bluffs, Iowa and the other moved to the area of Linn County, Kansas.


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In , the Potawatomi who had remained in Indiana were forced to move to Oklahoma. Soldiers simply surrounded the Indians and forced them to march without provisions or possessions. Survivors called this the Trail of Death. In , Pokagon relocated from the village near the Indiana-Michigan border to land he purchased on Silver Creek near present-day Dowagiac, Michigan.

Potawatomi Trail of Death - The Story of 850 Native Americans

He used the monies paid to him from the Treaty of Chicago to purchase lands for his people and he patented the land in his name, thus providing his people with a legal title the same as the American settlers. Saint Anthony Messenger Press. Hahnenberg explains the context, language, and significance of each of the sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council.

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Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice , Daniel G. Groody Orbis Books.


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The author, who is director of the Institute for Latino Studies, assistant professor of theology and a Holy Cross priest, frames a discussion of Christian spirituality and social justice in the context of globalization. Groody University of Notre Dame Press. The collection of essays explores the option for the poor in light of scripture, Christian discipleship, culture, and other major world religions in pursuit of an answer to the question: How can one live a Christian life in a world of destitution?

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