Rather than fight or resist American expansion onto Potawatomi homelands, our ancestral leaders chose to be proactive and have influence over it, by developing a strategy that allowed certain aspects of American culture into our villages. Through this, our ancestors could better understand their new American neighbors while simultaneously solidifying relationships with them. In 1833 at the Treaty of Chicago, one of our leaders, Leopold Pokagon, strategically resisted removal of the St. Joseph Potawatomi. The United States recognized the tenacity of our Potawatomi government and our brilliant leaders that oversaw it.
Our ancestral leaders weren’t just thinking of their immediate needs when they forged these relationships. They were thinking seven generations ahead; they were thinking of us. Because of their sacrifices seven generations ago we are able to enjoy the fruits of their leadership today. We must be like our ancestors. We must make meaningful contributions to our tribal government that will have a positive impact seven generations from now.