Waterfall (and Wayback) Wednesday: Potawatami Falls & Michigan’s Potawatami Tribe

24 Potawatomi Falls

24 Potawatomi Falls, photo by David Hedquist

GoWaterfalling’s page on Potawatomi Falls shares:

A very scenic waterfall along an especially scenic part of the Black River. An added plus is the close proximity of the equally impressive Gorge Falls. These are two of the most impressive falls on the Black River and are also the two easiest to access.

Potawatomi Falls is just upstream of Gorge Falls and is reached from the same parking area. Potawatomi is the name of one of the native tribes. This waterfall is wheelchair accessible. Gorge Falls is just a short walk away.

In low water, the waterfall is segmented, with most of the water going to the right. In high water the river covers the entire rock separating the two segments with a sheet of white water.

Head over to GoWaterfalling for directions and more. In case you were wondering (as I was), here’s a bit of Potawatomi history from Lee Sultzman that explains (in part):

In 1600 the Potawatomi lived in the northern third of lower Michigan. Threatened by the Ontario tribes trading with the French (Neutrals, Tionontati, Ottawa, and Huron) during the late 1630s, the Potawatomi began leaving their homeland in 1641 and moved to the west side of Lake Michigan in northern Wisconsin. This was completed during the 1650s after the Iroquois defeated the French allies and swept into lower Michigan. By 1665 all of the Potawatomi were living on Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula just east of Green Bay. They remained there until 1687 when the French and Great Lakes Algonquin began driving the Iroquois back to New York. As the Iroquois retreated, the Potawatomi moved south along the west shore of Lake Michigan reaching the south end by 1695. At about the same time, one band settled near Jesuit mission on the St. Joseph River in southwest Michigan. Shortly after the French built Fort Ponchartrain at Detroit in 1701, groups of Potawatomi settled nearby. By 1716 most Potawatomi villages were located in an area between Milwaukee to Detroit. During the 1760s they expanded into northern Indiana and central Illinois.

Land cessions to the Americans began in 1807 and during the next 25 years drastically reduced their territory. Removal west of the Mississippi occurred between 1834 and 1842. The Potawatomi were removed in two groups: the Prairie and Forest Bands from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin went to Council Bluffs in southwest Iowa; and the Potawatomi of the Woods (Michigan and Indian bands) were relocated to eastern Kansas near Osawatomie.

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see many more photos and some videos in his Potawatomi Falls slideshow.

PS: David is the author of Waterfalling in Wisconsin: The Complete Guide to Waterfalls in the Badger State. I’m seeing a bunch of photos of Michigan waterfalls, so (maybe) stay tuned!

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