James Wahb-No-Sah

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In Loving Memory of

James Wahb-No-Sah

(Prairie Band Potawatomi Ritual Leader)

Above: James Wahbnosah, son of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk and Rosann Lasley Ke-O-Ko-Mo-Quah Potts, on the Prairie Band Reservation, 1963.

Photo taken by James A. Clifton for his book titled "Indians of North America: The Potawatomi". He is a cultural anthropologist and a leading authority on the ethnohistory of the Indians of the Great Lakes - Ohio Valley area. He is Frankenthal Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and previously taught at the Universities of Oregon, Colorado, and Kansas. He earned a Ph.B. at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon.



Below: Photograph of James Wahb-No-Sah. Photographs were taken by Ruth Landes on the Prairie Band Reservation in 1951. Ruth Landes was an American cultural anthropologist who studied the religious and cultural beliefs of the Prairie Potawatomis of Kansas. She also studied the rapid changes in their cultural and political environment. Ruth Landes conducted field work amongst the Prairie Potawatomi Indians on the Prairie Band Indian Reservaion in Kansas during 1935, 1936, and later in the 1950s and 1960s.

Above: James Wahb-No-Sah, son of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatuk, Potawatomi Holyman and Principal Pipe Carrier. 1951 on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation holds the original pipe and pipe stem of Chief Topinabee. It was said by James Wahb-No-Sah that the mouth piece of the Topinabee pipe stem had broken off due to frailty during his time of guardianship and had to be cared for and tended to correctly as it was not appropriate to leave the mouth piece of the traditional old stem broken. In the photo on the rush mat is the buffalo bundle, a Greenville Treaty pipe stem, and Chief Chebaas' pipe stem

These religious Potawatomi artifacts remained for decades within a small circle of traditionals on the Prairie Band reservation for ceremonial gatherings. Later, they were handed down to James Wahb-No-Sah, son Gary Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk Sr., and have remained in the family since.


Above: Potawatomi Chief Topinabee. Painting of Chief Topinabee c. 1800 - c. 1820.

Chief Topinabee pipe and pipe stem is decorated with purple and white wampum shell beads. The feather amulets upon the pipe stem are from the heads and beaks of the Lady Amherst pheasant which is native to southwestern China and Myanmar (northern Burma) and later was introduced into Britain. Lady Amherst, the bird is named after Sarah, Countess of Amherst (1762 - 1838). Her husband William Pitt Amherst, governor general of India, was responsible for sending the first birds to London in the early 1800s. The Pheasant known as Lady Amherst was soon on route to America where the feathers were introduced to Native Americans for trade. These feathers can also be seen on headdresses or the body as decoration within Great Lakes native culture. Such birds were highly prized by Indian leaders, showing status and rank. They decorated their bodies and religious objects sometimes with feathers others were not always able to obtain.

Above: The old pipe stem bears traditional Potawatomi marks of ancient fire starting. This traditional Neshnaabe pipe was used historically in counsils of great importance to the keeper of the fire.

Above: Potawatomi Indians gathered together at the Rush Lake Mission near Watervliet, 1906. Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk sits at center holding traditional Potawatomi pipes. Far right stands Rosann Lasley Ke-O-Ko-Mo-Quah Potts, wife of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk and mother of James Wahb-No-Sah who can be seen at his father's knee eating an ice cream cone. Photo taken by T. R. Hamilton

Above: James Wahbnosah, son of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk, sitting in front of his father holding an ice cream cone.

Above: Traditional Potawatomi singers and dancers c. 1920s. James Wahbnosah, son of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk, sitting in the center row 4th from the left.

Above: James Wahbnosah, son of Wis-Ki-Ge-Amatyuk and Rosann Lasley Ke-O-Ko-Mo-Quah Potts

Above: James Wahb-no-sah, son of Wis-ki-ge-amatyuk (John Buckshot) and Rosan Potts (Ke-o-ko-mo-quah). Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation, Mayetta, Kansas. 1930

Above: James Wahb-no-sah father of Gary Wis-ki-ge-amatyuk Sr.

Above: James Wahb-no-sah skinning a deer.

Above: James Wahb-no-sah skinning a deer.

Above: Potawatomis gathered around James Wahb-no-sah (center). To the far right stands the mother of James Wahb-no-Sah, Rosann Lasley Ke-O-Ko-Mo-Quah Potts. Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation. Mayetta, Kansas.