The checkerboard pattern of the Potawatomi reservation reveals the lasting impact of Europeans on Native Americans and the landscape.
When colonists began to spread and trade in North America, they identified the opportunity the Great Plains offered.
This began a long history of land occupation that eventually saw many Native American tribes removed from their ancestoral lands.
In the 19th century tribes who lived east of the Mississippi River were moved to the west to free the more desirable land for white development.
Each native family was allocated a 160 acre square of land on a reservation on which they were expected to build a farm and become self-sufficient.
For native people, land division was an alien concept as their beliefs taught them that the Earth belonged to all living things to share.
Many were tricked into selling portions of their territory for a fraction of its worth, while others were forcibly moved far from their native lands.
Over 50 years hundreds of tribes moved onto reservations where most still live today.
The process of relocation was often devastating to the native population, and the Potawatomi were no exception.The US military marched 900 Potawatomi tribes-people 1,000 kilometres from their north-eastern homeland to a Kansas reservation.40 people died in the two month journey known as the Trail of Death.When they arrived, the Potawatomi discovered that the land they had been allotted was unsuitable for farming.Reservations were on land that white Americans had rejected in favour of the fertile soil the Indians had enjoyed for millennia.Poor land combined with the rapid decline in buffalo meant the Potawatomi and other reservation tribes suffered from crippling poverty.