Shirley Willard Works to Preserve the Memory of Potawatomi During Relocation

When I was in fifth grade, I was given the task of standing before several hundred parents and teachers one evening. I was given a speech to recite, the speech began, “How! Me big chief What-a-pot-am I.” I was a very thin child, so this received the hoped for laughs. I was also a Native child.My Father and his mother were were Indiana. Indiana was Indian Territory for a while, and Native people from throughout the Eastern U.S. were exiled there. In Indiana the people of many tribes met and intermarried. It is very possible we are part Potawatomi.

Here is a post from the Ball State English Department’s Blog:


English Department Alumna Shirley Willard Describes How She is Working to Preserve the Memory of the Potawatomi Lost to the Trail of Death


In the late 19th century, a community of Native Americans, primarily the Potawatomi, were forcibly displaced and had to march on a trail that began near Fulton County, Indiana and that ended in present-day Kansas. This trail is now aptly referred to as the Trail of Death. Unfortunately, much of the history surrounding the Trail of Death and the Potawatomi has gone largely unnoticed. Ball State alumna, Shirley Willard, has made it her mission to draw attention to the history of the Potawatomi tribe and to create national recognition for those who were lost on the Trail of Death. Continue reading below to find out about the extensive progress Shirley has made over the years and how she is continuing to make a difference today. Read More!

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