About Potawatomi

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The content of this page was developed from the research of Dr. Laura Buszard-Welcher.


Potawatomi is an Algonquian language spoken in North America. It belongs to the Central branch and is closely related to Ojibwe, although its vocabulary has been significantly affected by contact with speakers of Sauk. In the historical period, Potawatomi speakers occupied the territory surrounding Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and the lower peninsula of Michigan. However, due to the U.S. Government's policy of removal in the nineteenth century, there are today diasporic Potawatomi communities throughout the Midwestern United States and adjacent Ontario, Canada.


The Potawatomi descriptive materials provided here include a searchable lexicon, grammatical sketch, and example texts. These previously unpublished materials are the result of more than half a century's collaboration between linguists, fluent Potawatomi speakers, and Potawatomi communities. There is also extensive grammatical and lexical documentation from the missionary period. A bibliography of these and other Potawatomi language materials is available here.

Current status

Today, Potawatomi is critically endangered with about 25 fluent speakers. Speakers are elderly and are bilingual in English. There are several language revitalization projects underway, and most communities have established language and culture programs. The materials presented here are intended to be a contribution to these efforts.

Follow the path of the Potawatomi data

  1. Get started: Summary of the Potawatomi conversion
  2. Scan and OCR: OCR or Keyboard page (Classroom)
  3. Linguistic Review of Filemaker Pro: Filemaker Pro (offsite)
  4. Add Text to Database: FIELD page (Workroom)
  5. Convert Data: Conversion page (Classroom)
  6. Map Terminology: GOLD Ontology (Workroom)
  7. Store Text: XML page (Classroom)
  8. Present Text: Stylesheets page (Classroom)

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