Pokagon elders to begin moving into new homes

Published 11:28 pm Monday, August 23, 2004

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
DOWAGIAC - Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians elders begin moving in Sept. 1 to the $4 million, 17-bungalow Dailey Road Housing Development in LaGrange Township near Southwestern Michigan College.
Community leaders, including SMC President Dr. David Mathews and Cass County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robert Wagel, toured the elders village Friday afternoon.
Last September it was a forest when ground was broken and former President Bill Clinton sent his regards. It's still heavily wooded, so carefully was the development set down. From one side of the loop to the other it's secluded, even after May's high winds thinned some trees.
Building three different floor plans in different colors gave the opposite feeling of a cookie-cutter development.
It looks like a longstanding residential neighborhood, with paths for walking and substantial three-bedroom, 1,300-square-foot residences.
Tribal Chairman John Miller said elders are "coming home" from as far away as Florida and Arkansas to move in.
The Pokagon Band has also constructed a Head Start center at its Rodgers Lake headquarters, 58620 Sink Road, Dowagiac.
Vice Chair Marchell Wesaw said at the groundbreaking, "This is truly an historic moment for our nation. The groundbreaking represents progress in the first housing development initiative this band has conducted since we received federal reaffirmation of our sovereign status. It represents our commitment to our elders to provide for those who are currently living in substandard, poor living conditions new and safe quality housing.