The forced relocation of the Potawatomi
In September 1838, the U.S. government decided to relocate the Potawatomi Indians from Indiana to Kansas. Over the next two months, 859 tribe members walked the Trail of Death. Some 42 died; others escaped. Catholic Father Benjamin Petit accompanied the group and
became something of an angel of mercy. He led mass, ministered to the sick and dying, gave last rites, and baptized several children. The trip was as difficult for him as for the Indians. Petit got sick on the trail and his health continued to deteriorate. He died that December, a
month after the journey was finished.