The Potawatomi are Algonquin, a European term based upon linguistics, and Neshnabek, a Potawatomi word that means "original people." The Potawatomi were part of a confederacy with the Ojibwa (Chippewa) and Odawa (Ottawa) Indian tribes. This group was known as the Council of the Three Fires.
At the time of first contact by the Europeans, the Potawatomi people were living in what is today lower Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. To the west of Lake Michigan, the Potawatomi land base extended from Illinois to Green Bay, Wisconsin.
The Potawatomi signed 42 treaties with the United States government which is more than any other tribe.