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The Articles started December 2007.
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The Potawatomis are coming
By Barry Schrader.................................April
Now getting back to my conversation with the Tribal
treasurer Dyer, he told me they are soon to publish a book tracing
the lineage of Chief Shab-eh-nay and his descendants. It is being
written by a history professor from the University of Michigan.
Wish-kuk-ke-ash-kuk is his Potawatomi name but Ryan Dyer is
the English name he uses most of the time.
is one of the seven members of the Tribal Council he serves
as treasurer that governs the Prairie Band Potawatomi
Nation that includes some 4,800 people.
In a phone
interview with him from his home in Kansas, I learned a lot about
this tribe that once occupied all of the lands around DeKalb
County and much more of the Midwest before the influx of white
settlers as the United States pushed westward.
will be coming to DeKalb County on April 14, along with the Tribal
Council secretary Wabaunsee, also known as James Potter, the
invited speaker at our annual dinner meeting of the DeKalb County
Historical-Genealogical Society, being held at the Indian Oaks
Country Club near Shabbona.
Since most everyone
in our county knows the history of Chief Shabbona, who lived
in southern DeKalb County back in the early 1800s, I wont
repeat the story of his life. If you would like to know more,
the historical society is publishing a booklet written by the
late Marilyn Rasmusen about the chief and his Prairie Band. It
will be available at the annual dinner for $6 and afterward at
museums around the county. Her history was originally compiled
for a seven-part series currently running in The Cornsilk, quarterly
magazine of the historical society.
Wish-kuk-ke-ash-kuk is the Potawatomi name of Ryan Dyer,
shown here. Dyer is the English name he uses most of the time.
Asked about their plans for the 128-acre parcel near
the village of Shabbona they purchased in 2006, Dyer explained
that the tribe contends that the land has been reserved for them
since they and the United States signed the Treaty of Prairie
du Chien in 1829, and that the Potawatomi plan to build a gaming
facility on the land. The county sent a letter to the National
Indian Gaming Commission in May 2007 requesting a clear determination
from the federal government as to whether the land is a reservation,
which county officials contend is necessary to operate a gaming
facility. The tribe has said it does not need Gaming Commission
approval, but has said it has not built on the land because it
prefers to avoid possible litigation.
the name of the reservation in DeKalb County will be the Shab-eh-nay
Reservation, a part of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, governed
by the same Tribal Council. He added that they have a rich
and long history with this land for nearly 200 years and are
an integral part of the culture and history of this area.
Ryans grandmother was a full-blooded Potawatomi,
and his grandfather was a Choctaw. He grew up in nearby Wichita
and first attended Haskell Indian National University where he
earned an Associate of Arts degree before completing his college
education at Kansas State University. Even though his family
no longer owns land on the reservation, his daily commute is
to the Tribal Council offices there.
Prairie Band is re-established here, I am hopeful they will share
their culture and ceremonies with us later inhabitants of the
county. I recall fondly two large Pow Wows I attended in northern
California, which were a two- or three-day celebration of more
than one tribe in that area. Their native dress, foods, dancing
and music are something to behold.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
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PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115