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DOWAGIAC, MICHIGAN - Today is Michigan Indian Day, designated as such every third Friday in September by the State of Michigan. Most tribal offices are closed in recognition of this day set a part to celebrate being American Indian.
The Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi, based in Dowagiac, Michigan, have something more to celebrate today and tomorrow. The Band is celebrating its 17th year of federal reaffirmation this weekend to commemorate President Bill Clinton signing the bill into allowing granting its official federal recognition.
"Pokagon sovereignty is the backbone of who we are as a people. While we culturally have many traditional responsibilities we have never given up our right to govern ourselves," said Matthew Wesaw, Chairman. "Sovereignty isn't something that is given to you, it is an inherent right to govern and provide for the people who you are accountable to care for. Through history Pokagon leadership has never shied from this charge."
Tonight the Pokagon Band is sponsoring a free concert from 6:00 pm - 9 pm at its Community Center, located at 58620 Sink Road. In concert will be nationally-renowned Native performers Gene Tagaban, Keith Secola and the Wild Band of Indians and Don Burnstick.
On Saturday, the Pokagon Band have a day-long celebration, beginning with a sunrise ceremony at 7:00 am. The ceremony will last two hours. Numerous workshops, broken into teaching sessions will be conducted throughout the day with a formal Tribal Council Recognition Ceremony at 5:00 pm, which precedes a dinner. The activities conclude with fall ceremonies.
updated 9:00pm edt; posted September 23, 2011 2:59 pm edt
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