Pokagon Band to name new chairman

Published 6:24 pm Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The void left at the top of the Pokagon Band’s chain of command will soon be filled, as the tribe plans to announce the person who will serve as the new chairman by as early as next week.

An election to determine the new chairman was held on Jan. 25 at the Pokagon Band Community Center, located on Potawatomi Trail. With the votes counted, the only step remains is for the elected candidate to be certified by the tribe’s election board.

The position has been vacant for the past five months. Matt Wesaw was the previous chairman of the tribe, serving for nearly five years in the role.

However, Wesaw stepped down as chairman of the Pokagon Band in October after he was named executive director of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, the first Native American to hold the position.

Over the last several months, Vice Chairman Bob Moody has served as interim chairman while the election committee made preparations for the vote.

A number of Pokagon citizens submitted their names for the position, said Paige Risser, the Pokagon director of communications. Any person with the tribe was eligible for nomination, as the election board does not require a formal nomination process.

The board has spent the last several months creating the schedule for the election, including a meet and greet event that allowed citizens to meet potential candidates for the position, Risser said.

Like the last election, the process for this year’s succession  “went smoothly,” Risser said.