Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

Mailing Address

58620 Sink Road
Dowagiac, MI 49047

Contact Information





Cultural History

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is a federally recognized tribe. The tribe is Algonquian-speaking Potawatomi people who are currently settled in the southwestern Michigan and in the Northeastern Indiana.  The Algonquian is a sub-family of the Native American languages. The dialect includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. There are also two other languages involved in the Algic family, namely the Wiyot of the Yurok. These languages are still spoken by the elders of the tribe as well as some of the middle aged tribal members. The language of these people is preserved due to its importance in their heritage. Many people have also forgotten the dialect while some still try their best to keep it alive. The tribal language is one unique characteristic of the tribe because it links them to the other Algonquian speaking nations. The similarity in the culture is something that the tribe tries to maintain because it is important for them to trace their relative tribes. The language has also played an important role in keeping the tribal spirit alive, as it has bound the tribal members. The language is an important tool that the Pokagon people have taken care of through the years.

On the other hand, the tribal operations are found in the Dowagiac, Michigan. These tribal functions are also inevitable in the lives of the tribal people as these serve as their link to the economic growth that they are aiming for. The tribal membership o the tribe has grown at an unprecedented rate and is now up to an approximate number of 3,150 members as of the data presented in the year 2006. Likewise, the census data revealed that there is an unemployment rate of 26% and that 40% of the tribal members are living below the poverty line. 

The Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Indains is a signatory to eleven treaties with the federal government. The treaties resulted in a major land cession with the treaty of 1833 taking place in Chicago. It was during these Indian removals that the tribe had to relocate towards the western portion of the United States. Good thing, though, it was Chief Leopold Pokagon who was a sought after Pokagon leader that negotiated with the federal government to allow the Potawatomi band of not less than two hundred eighty people in their settlements located in the South western portion of Michigan. The aftermath of this negotiation was that the Potawatomi band was the only band that was not part of the Indian Removals. The tribe gained full recognition in the year 1994. The tribe has likewise recently opened a casino named the Four Winds Casino Resort. This is said to be the second largest casino outside of Las Vegas.

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