32 homes added to Pokagonek Edawat village
Published 8:05 am Thursday, October 31, 2013
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians introduced the community to their newest addition to “Pokagonek Edawat” — place where Pokagons live — Wednesday morning.
The new addition included 16 townhomes and 16 duplexes recently added to the housing development. The new homes add to 44 houses that already exist in the village.
John Warner, treasurer of the Pokagon Band, said the idea for a tribal village surfaced a long time ago.
“It’s really hard for people to get involved when you’re worried about the basics in life. I’m talking about feeding your family, having shelter over your head, clothing yourself, just basic human needs,” Warner said at a ceremony Wednesday morning. “And so part of that vision a long time ago was to live together and stay together and be able to work toward a goal of having our people re-established in a consolidated area.”
“These homes are the result of our continued mission to support our citizens and help them obtain a better quality of life,” said Bob Moody, Vice Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.
The homes in Pokagonek Edawat are managed by the Pokagon Housing and Facilities Department. Through the program, members of the Tribe are given assistance with home ownership, loans and installation or improvements of well and/or sewer services. Pokagons are given the opportunity to inhabit the homes in a number of ways, including straight ownership, lease-to-own and rental.
“The Pokagon Band provides a variety of services to our citizens including education, health care, housing, language and cultural preservation and social services,” Moody said.
Moody acknowledged several members of the community that helped to build the 32 new homes, including members from a Pokagon Band Carpenter Apprenticeship Program, a partnership with Southwestern Michigan College. Students had to complete a total of 8,000 hours of on-the-job training, most of which is utilized by Pokagon construction projects. Apprentices included Anthony Bridges, Tim Downing, Andrew Reidenour, Gordon Shults and Tracy Wesaw were acknowledged with certificates at the ceremony Wednesday morning.