SOUTH BEND, IN--(Marketwired - Nov 29, 2016) - The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approved its application to take into trust 166 acres of Pokagon Band land located between Prairie Avenue, U.S. 31, and Locust Road in the City of South Bend. This historic decision to restore the Pokagon Band's ancestral homeland in South Bend marks the first restoration of sovereign tribal land in the state of Indiana. The Pokagon Band will build a Tribal Village, which will eventually include 44 housing units and a community center along with facilities for health services and other tribal government programs. The Tribal Village will also feature other initiatives that will create economic opportunities for tribal citizens on the trust site. A police substation will be developed on adjacent land. Construction will start immediately.
"On behalf of the Pokagon Tribal Council, and all Pokagon citizens, we'd like to thank the BIA, Pete Buttigieg, former and active South Bend Common Council members, Councilman Oliver Davis, members of the Michiana Pokagon Alliance, and all of the local citizens and organizations that have supported us during this lengthy process," said John P. Warren, Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. "The Pokagon Band has lived in this region for thousands of years and we have been working with the BIA since May 2012 to reestablish our sovereign land in Indiana. This approval will help break down barriers to services for our tribal citizens and enable us to build the necessary healthcare, family services, education facilities, and homes."
"Over the last two centuries, the Pokagon Band ceded over 5.2 million acres of our homeland to the United States. 185 years later, as we reclaim only a modest portion of our homeland, we take comfort in knowing how proud our ancestors would be of this historic achievement," said Bob Moody, Vice-Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. "Restoration of our homeland will preserve our legacy for the next seven generations of Pokagon citizens and ensure that our ongoing economic contributions to South Bend will continue to grow."
The Pokagon Band's land in South Bend is held in trust by the United States for the exclusive benefit and use of the tribe. As a federally recognized tribe, the Pokagon Band is not subordinate to the State of Indiana; it possesses both the right and the authority to regulate activities on its land independently from state government control.
About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' 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 approximately 5,000 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, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort® in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford® in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac® in 2013. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov.