A major trail passed through Elkhart County, Indiana, between what is now Fort Wayne and Chicago. For centuries the Potawatomi, Miami and other Woodlands People used this trail as a trade route to carry goods between the Maumee River and Lake Michigan. Much of the trail is within the Saint Joseph River Watershed. This trail also became the route that white settlers used to come into the Elkhart County region during the early 1800s.
We are working to memorialize this historic trail and recognize the Indigenous People by creating a trail marker system along the route it took through Elkhart County. We have chosen the name Potawatomi-Miami Trail to honor the two main groups of this region who were using this trail prior to European settlers arriving. The Indigenous people referred to the trail in a variety of terms rather than having a singular name for the route. Their languages use many action words so the name of the trail depended on the direction they were traveling and where they were in relation to the trail. We received input from Potawatomi and Miami cultural leaders in determining the best name to use. The use of the words “Bodewadmi” and “Myaamia” in large font on the signs shows the names the Potawatomi and Miami in their language.