Senachewine

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Senachewine (died 1831) (from the Potawatomi Znajjewan "Difficult Current"; also recorded as Petacho) was the brother of Gomo who was chief among the Lake Peoria Potawatomi.

In 1813 after the destruction of their villages on Lake Peoria during the War of 1812, they fled northward. The establishment of a US post at Peoria (Fort Clark) ended the raids on southern Illinois and brought peace back to the frontier. With the realization that the Americans would win, Senachewine moved his village back to Lake Peoria. When Gomo died in 1815, Senachewine became chief of the village. On July 18, 1815, Black Partridge, Senachewine, White Hair and four other chiefs meet with the US at Portage des Sioux, Missouri, and signed treaties that pledged a perpetual peace.[1]

A 1815 treaty ended the war, but there developed a confusion/rivalry of Shabbona and Senachewine (supported by the Indian Agent at Peoria) against those native American representatives selected by the Fort Wayne (Five Medals and Metea) and the Chicago Indian Agents (Topinbee and Chebass). It became confusing as to who was the main representative force of the native Americans. Senachewine’s village on Lake Peoria was the only Potawatomi village that received its annuity payments on site; all the other villages received there in Detroit. In 1816, the Potawatomi of western Illinois confirmed the land cessions from their treaties. When they were notified that this included the Sac and Fox cession of Potawatomi lands in northwestern Illinois to the Mississippi, Black Partridge and Senachewine and the other Peoria chiefs refused to accept this and indicated that action would be taken to prevent the occupation of the disputed lands. The treaty of St. Louis on August 24, 1816 provided the Potawatomi with guarantees for their remaining lands and the right of access to the Sac & Fox ceded lands, plus various payments. This was the first of twenty-eight treaties which provided for the US removal of the Potawatomi from Indiana and Illinois.[1]

By 1825, the traditional leaders were dying and being replaced by mix-bloods who perceived themselves as much a part of their native communities as that of the US. Senachewine sought to maintain traditional leaders, but was unable due to the changing needs of working with the Americans. In 1827 when the Winnebago tribe was seeking alliance with other Indians to oppose white occupation and treaties, Senachewine, along with most Potawatomi chiefs (Waubansee, Senachewine, and Shickshack (Nine)) refused to listen. He was concerned that the proximity of the fort and white settlements created more risk for them than the Winnebago.[1]

In 1829, a land cession treaty was called for at Rock Island, Illinois. The location was moved at the last minute to Prairie du Chien to please the Winnebago. The Potawatomi were not notified and Senachewine and the Peoria Potawatomi refused to attend. Because of the large number of other Potawatomi in attendance, land cessions of northern Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin were made. Senachewine protested that the signers of the treaty were not those individuals who had received guarantees for the land at the 1816 treaty. Because the sub-agent supported his protests, in 1831, William Clark at St. Louis investigated the claims and found them valid. Instead of invalidating the land cessions, he ruled that the annuity would be shared with the Lake Peoria villages. Senachewine and several others attended the Chicago annuity disbursement. He was displeased with the division, but died before he could protest to the government. His son Nauntay notified the government and obtain a promise from Clark that a census of the Potawatomi would be completed and the annuity paid proportionally.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d The Potawatomis, Keepers of the Fire by Edmunds, R. David, 1978