July 11, 2012

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians


The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians have occupied southern Michigan, northern Indiana, northwestern Ohio, north and central Illinois, and the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin into the Dorr Peninsula for thousands of years.



Official Tribal Name: Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

Address: 58620 Sink Road, Box 180, Dowagiac, Michigan 49047
Phone: (800) 517-0777

Official Website:

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning:

Bode’wadmi– Firekeepers

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name:


Alternate names / Alternate spellings: Pokégnek, Bodéwadmik, Ojibwa, Ojibway, More names for Ojibwe

Name in other languages:

Region: Northeast (Eastern Woodland) –> Ojibwa, Chippewa and Potawatomi

State(s) Today: Michigan, Indiana

Traditional Territory:

Confederacy: Council of the Three Fires, Ojibwe


Reservation: Pokagon Reservation

Land Area: 4700 acrea
Tribal Headquarters:
Time Zone:

Population at Contact:

Registered Population Today: About 3,000 tribal members.

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

To begin the process of enrollment with the Pokagon Band, contact the Enrollment Coordinator at (269) 462-4238 or (269) 782-1763. 

Genealogy Resources:


Name of Governing Body:
Number of Council members:
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers:


Language Classification:  Algic => Algonquian => Central Algonquian => Ojibwa-Potawatomi => Potawatomi

Language Dialects: Potawatomi

Potawatomi is an Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwayan dialect complex.

Number of fluent Speakers:

The Potawatomi language is critically endangered and nearly extinct. It has about 50 first-language speakers in several widely separated communities in the US and Canada. These include the Hannahville Indian Community (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), the Pokagon and Huron Bands (southern Michigan), the Forest County Band (northern Wisconsin), the Prairie Band (eastern Kansas), and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma. A few Potawatomi speakers also live among the Eastern Ojibwe in Ontario, particularly at the Walpole Island Reserve. The largest speech communities are in the Forest County and Prairie Bands, each with about 20 speakers, several conservatively fluent.



Bands, Gens, and Clans

Related Tribes:

Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Chippewa-Cree Indians of the Rocky Boy’s Reservation
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Michigan
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
Forest County Potawatomi
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Hannaville Indian Community
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
La Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac de Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Potawatomi
Minnesota Chippewa Tribe
Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
Saginaw Chippewa Indians
Sokaogon Chippewa Community
St. Croix Chippewa Indians
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians

Traditional Allies:

Traditional Enemies:

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Art & Crafts:





Economy Today:

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Wedding Customs

Tribal College:

Potawatomi Chiefs and Famous People:

Jim Thorpe whose indian name was Wathohuck , meaning Bright Star (Sauk/Pottawatomi 1888–1953), athlete who won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes N to P
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