Pokagon author signing book at SMC March 17

Published 10:52 am Monday, March 7, 2016

There will be a Pokagon Band art reception, book signing and academic speaker series presentation Thursday, March 17, at Southwestern Michigan College’s Dowagiac campus.

Dr. John Low’s talk takes place at 2 p.m. in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on his book, “Imprints: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of Chicago.”

How were Pokagons able to retain their identity and traditions while contributing significantly to Chicago’s culture?

Low, who will be signing his new book, is an assistant professor of comparative studies at The Ohio State University-Newark.

Low received his Ph.D. in American culture at the University of Michigan and is an enrolled citizen of the Pokagon Band.

He also received a graduate certificate in museum studies and a juris doctorate from The University of Michigan.

Low earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a second bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago.

Imprints examines ways some tribal members maintained a distinct Native identity, their rejection of assimilation into the mainstream and their desire for inclusion in the larger contemporary society without forfeiting their “Indianness.”

Immediately following Low’s lecture will be an informal closing reception for “New Works of the Potawatomi: A Survey of Traditional + Contemporary Art Practices” in the adjacent art gallery, room 108 of the Lyons Building.

The exhibition Jason S. Wesaw and Kristie Bussler of the Pokagon Band co-organized includes their works as well as those by Angela Rice, Frank Barker, Kathy Fodness, John Fox, Christine Rapp Morseau, Agnes Rapp, Jennie Brown, John Pigeon and David Martin.

It began as a dialogue with Nooksack artist Louis Gong, who spoke at SMC last April 14. Gong is with Eighth Generation and their related program, Inspired Natives Project.

This exhibit evolved like a conversation, growing organically and changing shape as new artists were approached and their artistic practices networked together.

SMC’s art gallery is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment.

The talk, art reception and gallery are all open to visitors at no charge.

Low’s author presentation and book signing is an event of One Story (Ngot Yajmowen) sponsored by partners the Pokagon Band, SMC, Dowagiac Union Schools, Dowagiac Area History Museum, Dogwood Fine Arts Festival and Dowagiac District Library.

The grassroots community-based program designed to build awareness of contemporary Native American issues is reading “Ogimawkwe Mitigwaki (Queen of the Woods)” by Simon Pokagon, who was born in 1830 in the Pokagon Indian village in Berrien County.

Pokagon was educated at the University of Notre Dame and Oberlin College.

During his lifetime, he became a spokesman for his tribe, well-known as a speaker and a respected writer.

“Queen of the Woods” is a love story about Chief Pokagon and his wife, Lonidaw.

The community is invited to participate in all events based on this novel during the 2016 One Story season.

Complimentary copies are available from any One Story partner.