Removal, 1833

In 1833 approximately 6,000 to 7,000 Potawatomi lived in Michigan. Over the next several years some Potawatomi left Michigan for the western United States. Approximately 1,200 joined with their western kin and relocated to the Sugar Creek Reservation in eastern Kansas. Although some descendants of these migrants still live in Kansas, most of the Potawatomi at Sugar Creek were again relocated in the 1860s to Oklahoma.

Perhaps 1,500 to 2,500 Michigan Potawatomi fled to Canada. Immigration to Canada became particularly attractive in 1837. In that year the British government, honoring longstanding American complaints, finally agreed to stop giving annual presents to Indians resident in the United States. However, to partially mitigate the results of this policy, Britain invited these American Indians to live in Canada. British officials invited the Michigan Potawatomi to settle on Manitoulin Island on Georgian Bay. Although the Potawatomi generally disliked that barren island, many Potawatomi settled with other Native Americans on Walpole Island, on the Sarnia reserve, on Kettle Point, and on Parry Island.

Other Potawatomi avoided relocation by hiding in Michigan. Some took refuge in remote places such as the marshes along the lower Galien River in Berrien County or the headwater of the Kalamazoo River. Others fled north. Hiding was a temporary solution. Eventually those who fled either migrated to Canada, moved west, or quietly returned to their old homes after the federal soldiers were gone.