One Story brings together reading and community

Published 9:58 am Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dowagiac’s largest book club will reconvene next month, as the Pokagon Band and its partners launch the 2016 One Story program.

People throughout the greater Dowagiac community are invited to all read the same book, while participating in a slate of activities loosely based on themes from the story. This year, organizers have selected “Queen of the Woods,” written by Simon Pokagon, a prominent leader and spokesman of the Potawatomi people living in the Michiana area in the late 1800s.

Now in its third year, the One Story program is an impressive collaboration between several local institutions, including The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Dowagiac District Library, Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival Committee, Dowagiac Union Schools, and Southwestern Michigan College. The events scheduled for the program, which take place from February through May, are hosted by many of these organizations, allowing visitors to get a sample of what each has to offer the community.

We encourage our readers to try and follow along with this year’s program, which is shaping up to be the best one yet.

We like the One Story program for several reasons.

First and foremost, it encourages people to pick up and read a book they may not have discovered otherwise. This is certainly the case this year, as organizers say that “Queen of the Woods,” despite being written by a prominent figure in Pokagon history, has not had a lot of exposure among the Native Americans and others living in the Dowagiac area.

As the story contains many references to old Potawatomi traditions, readers are sure to learn a lot about the ancient and rich culture that has called Dowagiac home for centuries.

As mentioned earlier, One Story also allows participants to take part in activities hosted at places like the college, library and museum. These events, which include lectures, writing/art workshops and tours of local historic sites, are sure to offer people a chance to learn new skills and discover more of the rich treasure trove of history our region has to offer.

With many of the events offered free of charge, and organizers giving complementary copies of “Queen of the Woods” at many of the activity sites, it’s simple for people to get involved.

A complete listing of events for this year’s One Story is available on


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.