The features of the Pottawattomies are generally broad and coarse; their heads large, and their limbs fuller than the Osages. Among their warriors you rarely see one with the head shaved,
retaining nothing but the scalp-lock. On the contrary, they wear it bushy and long, frequently plaited into long tails, sometimes hanging back in the nape of the neck, and at others over
the face in front. Their sculls are remarkably flat behind.
Of their dress, made up as it is of a thousand varieties of apparel, but little general idea can be given. There is nothing among them that can be called a national costume. That has apparently long been done away with, or at least so far cloaked under their European ornaments, blankets, and finery, as to be scarcely distinguishable. Each seemed to clothe him or herself as best suited their individual means or taste. Those who possessed the means, were generally attired in the most fantastic manner, and the most gaudy colours. A blanket and breechcloth was possessed with very few exceptions by the poorest among the males. Most added leggings, more or less ornamented, made of blue, scarlet, green, or brown broad-cloth; and surcoats of every colour and every material; together with rich sashes, and gaudy shawl or handkerchief-turbans.
All these diverse articles of clothing, with the embroidered petticoats and shawls of the richer squaws and the complicated head-dress, were covered with innumerable trinkets of all descriptions, thin plates of silver, beads, mirrors, and embroidery. On their faces, the black and vermillion paint was disposed a thousand ways, more or less fanciful and horrible. Comparatively speaking, the women were seldom seen gaily drest, and dandyism seemed to be more particularly the prerogative of the males, many of whom spent hours at the morning toilet. I remember seeing one old fool, who, lacking other means of adornment and distinction, had chalked the whole of his face and bare limbs white.
All, with very few exceptions, seemed sunk into the lowest state of degradation, though some missionary efforts have been made among them also, by the American Societies. The Pottawattomie language is emphatic; but we had no means of becoming acquainted with its distinctive character, or learning to what class of Indian tongues it belonged.
All was bustle and tumult, especially at the hour set apart for the distribution of the rations.
Where this source can be found: Charles Joseph Latrobe, The Rambler in North America (2d ed.; 2 vols.; London: R. B. Seeley & W. Burnside, 1836 ), II, 202—56. Reprinted in Bessie Louis Pierce, As Others See Chicago: Impressions of Visitors, 1673-1933. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1933)