Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




American Indian sovereignty and identity, the rights of political and economic self-determination and self-definition, have suffered numerous blows since the time of First Contact. Under the policies of various European nations, and finally the United States, indigenous residents of North America have struggled to maintain political independence, as well as cultural and social integrity, while adapting to changing conditions over which they found themselves, most often, to have little direct control. Such is the history of the Potawatomi people. This dissertation examines the historic responses to these continuing challenges of one band of Potawatomi, the Pokagon of southwestern Michigan. It argues that, far from being vanished generic Indians, the Pokagon Potawatomi have continuously strived to maintain and enhance a cohesive tribal identity. As a case study, the problems faced by the Pokagon, both historical and contemporary, reflect not only upon the Pokagon and their non-native neighbors, but offer insight into common experiences for Native peoples across the country.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.