Potawatomi Tribes Provide Opportunity for Professional Development

Western Michigan University to Offer Grad-Level Course on Tribal Governance

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians are proud to collectively announce a new pathway for Tribal Members and partners to develop skills in Tribal Administration with the addition of a Tribally-endorsed course to Western Michigan University’s MPA program.

“The course will serve not only as an introduction to Tribal governance, but will also allow people to start looking intimately at different aspects within Tribal governance and how they link to federal recognition and nation rebuilding,” said Pokagon Tribal Council Secretary and Course Instructor Sam Morseau. “This course is a testament of building collective knowledge and learning like we have done since time immemorial.”

The Spring 2022 course, titled “Tribal Governance: Sovereignty through Self-Determination,” was proposed by the Tribes following WMU’s 2019 Land Acknowledgement Statement recognizing the lands on which the campus is located as historically occupied by Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodéwadmi Nations.

WMU continued their affirmation of Indigenous sovereignty and the Native experience through two years of meaningful planning and development of the course with Tribal leaders.

Modeled off of a one-of-a-kind Tribal Governance MPA program created by The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, the course will focus on Indigenous leadership, the path to federal recognition, nation rebuilding and sustainable sovereignty in relation to the three Potawatomi Tribes.

The new course introduces theoretical and practical applications of governance from an indigenous perspective. This includes challenges faced by public administrators in understanding the sovereign status of Tribal Nations, which have demonstrated substantial social, economic and political resilience since the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975.

Students will review historical trends affecting local Tribal Nations and articulate how roles in government-to-government relationships impact policy decision-making and administration. Students will also develop skills in Tribal administration by reviewing programs and services provided by a local Tribal Nation and are encouraged to provide a capacity building proposal for consideration.

“Who were the leaders and advocates that solidified legislation and helped each one of the three Bands establish recognition with the federal government? How do we as growing and rebuilding Nations balance all of the duties of not only governance but economic diversification and turning sustainable futures for our Nations and Tribal citizens?

“It is our hope that with our combined collaborative partnerships and relationships, we continue to build upon the successes that we’ve had in terms of long-term sustainability, not only for the university but also for our Tribal Nations,” Morseau said.

The course will be offered from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, Jan. 11 through April 26. Registration is open now for Tribal Members of the three Tribes. Each Tribe has seven seats reserved for early registration before the course opens to other WMU students.

For more information on how to register for the course, please contact NHBP Higher Education Specialist Andrea Rainer at andrea.rainer@nhbp-nsn.gov or 269.704.8356, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Education Resource Specialist Kristie Bussler at kristie.bussler@pokagonband-nsn.gov or 269.782.0887, Gun Lake Governmental Affairs Officer John Shagonaby at john.shagonaby@glt-nsn.gov or 269.397.1780 or Gun Lake Education Director Jannan Cotto at jannan.cotto@glt-nsn.gov or 269.397.1780.

Logo for Western Michigan University

WMU Land Acknowledgement Statement (2019)

“We would like to recognize that Western Michigan University is located on lands historically occupied by Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodewadmi nations. Please take a moment to acknowledge and honor this ancestral land of the Three Fires Confederacy, the sacred lands of all indigenous peoples and their continued presence.”

About The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi

NHBP, a federally recognized Tribal government with more than 1,600 enrolled Tribal Members, gained federal recognition December 19, 1995. The Tribe’s main offices are located at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation near Athens, Michigan, and in Grand Rapids, Michigan. NHBP provides benefits, programs and services to Tribal Members through various Tribal government departments, as well as a Tribal Police Department, Tribal Court and Gaming Commission.

 NHBP’s economic development entities include FireKeepers Casino Hotel, a Vegas-style casino, and Waséyabek Development Company, LLC, which focuses on the pursuit of non-gaming, economic diversification opportunities.

 Under the Tribal-State Gaming Compact, NHBP distributes a percentage of its annual slot machine revenue from FKCH to both the State of Michigan and to the Local Revenue Sharing Board. The Native American Heritage Fund, established in 2016, serves to provide resources to improve curricula and educational resources related to Michigan Indian history, as well as to fund initiatives that promote mutual respect and cooperation between local communities and Michigan’s federally recognized Tribes.

For more information visit www.nhbp-nsn.gov.

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi’s sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its more than 5,900 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Michigan, with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan, followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011, Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013 and Four Winds South Bend in January 2018. The Pokagon Band operates a variety of businesses via Mno-Bmadsen, its non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov, www.fourwindscasino.com and www.mno-bmadsen.com.

About Gun Lake Tribe

The Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) has a rich history in West Michigan and close connection to the land. The Bradley Indian Mission, located near Wayland, is the historic residential and cultural center point of the tribal community. The Tribe’s Ancestors, and political predecessors, signed treaties with the United States government dating back to 1795. The Tribe was re-affirmed to federal recognition in 1999. For more information about the Tribe visit www.gunlaketribe-nsn.gov.


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