The New Year offered plenty of chances to learn more about Potawatomi cultural arts. Twenty-four people made pucker toe moccasins for the first time on January 3, thanks in part to the Language and Culture Department’s new facilities, which include a large workshop space.
“Everyone was able to start and finish their moccasins,” said Patty Jo Kublik, cultural activities coordinator. “They were doing it the old way with needles and real sinew.”
Overnight from January 3 to 4, 49 Pokagon, Nottawaseppi Huron, and Saginaw Chippewa youth took over Southwestern Michigan College’s Student Activities Center for the annual youth lock in event. The group began the evening with a dinner and listened to speakers, including Dr. Shawn West from Pokagon Behavioral Health and Tribal Police Sgt. Ben Graves, who spoke on suicide awareness and prevention. Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Marcus Winchester talked with the group about Pokagon Band history and language.
Black ash trees are an irreplaceable piece of the Potawatomi economy, culture, and way of life. They provide us with material to create baskets, spoons, bowls, and other beautiful and necessary items. They grow on many of our lands, but they are dying faster than they're producing.
The emerald ash borer, an invasive species, was transported to this area, and is now destroying black ash trees. These insects burrow into the tree and feed off of it, slowly killing the tree from the inside out.
Richard Newcomer stepped into the Administration building on December 8 yet another time. He was familiar with the grand rotunda and the people working inside, but on that Monday, he entered as an employee of the Pokagon Band for the first time.
Officer Newcomer is now a Tribal Police officer, currently in Tribal Police's FPO program as part of his four months of training. He graduated from the police academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College on November 24 and accepted a job with the Band.