As one of the treaty signers in 1829 and 1833, Billy Caldwell and others negotiated the sale of 5,000,000 acres of land in northwest Illinois, resulting in the removal of all Native American tribes in the state of Illinois.
Billy Caldwell, son of a Mohawk woman and British Army Captain, William Caldwell was a leader in early Chicago. Although he was not a blood relative of the Great Lakes tribes in the area in 1833, Caldwell worked to negotiate the safe passage of the United Nations of Chippawa, Ottawa and Potawatomi out of the state of Illinois and west to Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Why didn't Billy Caldwell stay in Chicago? Why did he leave and live his final days in Council Bluffs, Iowa? What was his intention in signing the treaties? Today, Caldwell’s Band of Prairie People now live in Mayetta, Kansas as the federally-recognized tribe of Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
This documentary explores these actions through research and interviews with local subject experts.
Coming in 2024.
SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, June 20, 2024. It’s official! A private screening of The Negotiator: Billy Caldwell and a fundraiser for Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. Details coming soon! Our journey started over 30 years ago after living on the land Billy Caldwell received in the 1829 Treaty. Our research took us to two countries, we travelled thousands of miles, filmed over 20T of interviews, made hundreds of new friends and our journey ended in Mayetta, Kansas on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation reservation. A grateful acknowledgment to our editor, Sue Lawson and so many people throughout the journey. Thank you to the Illinois Holocaust Museum for hosting the private screening. Tickets on sale in February.
Over the course of two years the documentary production team had fun traveling throughout Chicago, Iowa and Kansas. Film Locations: Chicago, Illinois; DeKalb, Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; Council Bluffs, Iowa and Mayetta, Kansas. Thanks to so many people and organizations for making this film a reality. Friends to the right, Dan Melone, Dennis Downes, Susan Kelsey and Andrew Johnson.