History Rich In Honor, Tradition & Emotion

The history of the Potawatomi tribe is rich in honor, tradition and emotion. Tremendous suffering and loss due to the forced removal from their lands followed hundreds of years of self-sufficiency. Spirituality, perseverance and love for all living things have enabled the Potawatomi people to survive, and in recent years, prosper.

Centuries ago, the Potawatomi people numbered more than 10,000 and occupied and controlled almost 30 million acres in the Great Lakes region. In the 16th Century, the Potawatomi migrated south and settled along the shores of Lake Michigan where they lived close to the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes. This proximity, along with having similar languages and culture, helped the three tribes to form an alliance known as the “Council of the Three Fires.” The Potawatomi were given the task of keeping alive the “Sacred Fire.”

In the early 1800s, major portions of Potawatomi lands were ceded to the U.S. government. Following the Treaty of Chicago in 1833, most of the Potawatomi people were forcibly taken from tribal lands. Many perished en route to new lands in the west, and the march became known as "The Trail of Death." Some members rebelled against this forced exodus and refused to leave the Great Lakes region. The Forest County Potawatomi are descendants of these proud people. The Tribe was formally organized into the Forest County Potawatomi Nation under a constitution and bylaws ratified by the Tribe in 1937.

Today, the Forest County Potawatomi Community is thriving with an enrolled membership of about 1,400. Nearly half of the Tribe lives on the reservation, comprised of four communities in the southern section of Forest County, Wisconsin. The reservation covers approximately 12,000 acres of forests, clear lakes and streams, most of which is held in federal trust status. Through revenues from a wide array of business interests, the Tribe has been able to invest in the health, wellness, education, environment and future of its people. Additionally, the Forest County Potawatomi is now the largest employer in Forest County.

A reverence for culture, tradition and the wisdom that comes with age is constant throughout Potawatomi history. Like all Native peoples, the Potawatomi attach tremendous importance to the moral worth and character of every person. In particular, the Potawatomi cherish a special, spiritual relationship with the environment and its cycle of life following the seasons of nature.

To learn more about the Forest County Potawatomi, visit:

In addition to Potawatomi Casino | Hotel, the Forest County Potawatomi operate other enterprises such as:

Potawatomi Carter Casino Hotel »
Potawatomi Business Development Corporation »
Forest County Potawatomi Foundation »

Federally recognized tribes, such as the Forest County Potawatomi, operate as sovereign governments and have been recognized as independent for centuries.

It is the responsibility of a tribal government to provide for the general welfare of its tribal members and tribal lands. Indian tribes have consistently engaged in business enterprises as a means of generating revenue for the operation of their tribal governments because tribes cannot generate taxes to fund their governments.

When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, it paved the way for tribal governments to generate desperately needed revenues on tribal lands across the country in a whole new way. Unlike commercial gaming venues, the revenues derived from Indian gaming can only be used to fund tribal government operations or programs; to provide for the general welfare of the tribe and its members; to promote tribal economic development; to donate to charitable organizations; or to help fund operations of local government agencies.

Nationwide, Indian gaming occurs in 29 states, including Wisconsin, and has created positive results. It has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs, provided billions of dollars in revenue sharing with local governments and enabled contributions to thousands of non-profit organizations around the country to help improve communities for all people.

To learn more about Indian gaming visit:

National Indian Gaming Association website »