Hollywood actor to take part in upcoming Pokagon Band events

DOWAGIAC — The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced actor Wes Studi will be in town from May 24 to 26 to take part in tribal events over the Memorial Day weekend.

Studi is an acclaimed actor and musician best known for his roles in “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Dances with Wolves” and “Avatar.”

Studi, a member of the Cherokee nation born in northeastern Oklahoma, will speak at the Pokagon Veterans Memorial Golf Outing dinner on Thursday, May 24 and will participate in the golf outing on the following Friday.

The ninth annual Pokagon Veterans Memorial Golf Outing raises money for the Pokagon Veterans’ Military Relief Fund, which offers assistance to native veterans and their families.

Studi is known for his portrayal of Native Americans in a way that forever changed their stereotype in the movie industry, according to event organizers. Breaking new ground, he brought fully developed Native American characters to the screen, and then took it a step further highlighting the success of Native Americans in non-traditional roles they said.

Throughout his 30-year career he’s won numerous awards, including several First Americans in the Arts awards and the 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

Earlier this year, Studi, a Vietnam veteran, was invited to present at the 90th Academy Awards, where he introduced a video montage of military movies as a tribute to U.S. veterans.

He is a passionate advocate for Native American issues and a leader in promoting and preserving indigenous languages, said event organizers.

“Our Pokagon Veterans Memorial Golf Outing has become a tradition we all look forward to,” said John P. Warren, chairman of the Pokagon Band. “Over the weekend, we honor not only our tribal nation’s veterans, but those from across the country. It’s our privilege to bring Mr. Studi here to talk with us and share his experiences on advancing Native American issues both on screen and off. His commitment to preserving our traditions and important history is inspiring. We look forward to having him with us.”

Other Pokagon Band events taking place Memorial Day weekend is the ninth annual Oshke-Kno-Kewewen Pow Wow on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27 at Rodgers Lake, 58620 Sink Road in Dowagiac. Parking and admission is free.

The Pokagon Band is involved in numerous activities around the Michiana area. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September of 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation for its approximately 5,000 citizens, according to officials.

The Pokagon Band’s 10-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, with a satellite office in South Bend. In 2007, it opened Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Mich., followed by Four Winds Hartford in 2011 and Four Winds Dowagiac in 2013. Four Winds South Bend opened Jan. 16.  It owns and operates a variety of businesses via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at pokagonband-nsn.gov, fourwindscasino.com and mno-bmadsen.com.

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