Let’s continue with,
Chapter One, Prophetstown
The History of Marshall County, Indiana, published in 1881, by Daniel McDonald, pages 18-19, relates that a war party of Neshnabek from the Twin Lakes (Shishibes Lake) area attempted to reach the Prophetstown site, but arrived too late to take part in the battle. This account was doubtless gathered sometime prior to the removal of Menomni’s people in 1838 to Kansas, at gun point, with Menomni himself enclosed in an iron cage, conveyed on the back of a wagon.
Later this removal became known as the Trail of Death due to the forty children and elders lost to cholera and the stress of the ordeal. For those interested, the Fulton County Historical Society is an excellent source for commemorative activities and information on the removal, (http://www.potawatomi-tda.org). In September of 2013, the 175th anniversary will be acknowledged by a caravan that follows the Trail of Death route through Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.
My short story, ‘Buying a Stone,’ is somewhat related to the removal and it is available elsewhere on this website.
In 1811, given that Harrison’s army took over a month to march to Prophetstown, at the confluence of the Tippecanoe and Wabash Rivers, and that the army was shadowed by First Nations’ scouts from the beginning; it seems unlikely that the Shishibes Lake war party was, in fact, tardy in arriving. I suggest it is more likely that, in the mid-1830s, Menomni’s people were attempting to calm settler threats so that the Neshnabek might be allowed to retain their homes in Marshall County, and were therefore reluctant to provide a factual account of their participation in the war (i.e. their own defense against an army of invaders.)
The author’s descriptions of Neshnabek culture and ways of life are informed by two excellent sources: The Prairie People by James A. Clifton, 1998; and The Potawatomis by R. David Edmunds, 1978. In my novel, The Land Between Flowing Waters, I have tried to imagine the culture as it
existed in the 1812 time period.
Readers will notice that I do not call this Nation, ‘Potawatomis’, but ‘Neshnabek,’ as they refer to themselves, (page 17, of Edmunds, 1998 edition.) Another of my language choices is seldom, if ever, to refer to the Haudenosaunee (The Long House People) as ‘Iroquois.’ In this later instance, ‘Iroquois,’ meaning ‘Red Adders,’ was an intentionally derogatory term used by the Nation’s adversaries.