Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan

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Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan
Ed pigeon gun lake pot.jpg
Ed Pigeon, Tribal Vice-Chairman and cultural/language coordinator, and baby
Regions with significant populations
United States United States (Michigan Michigan)
English, Potawatomi
traditional tribal religion, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Three Fires Council (Odawa, Ojibwe, and other Potawatomi tribes)

The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan is a federally recognized tribe of Potawatomi people in Michigan. They were formerly known as the Gun Lake Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians,[1] the United Nation of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, Inc.,[1] the Gun Lake Tribe or Gun Lake Band.[2] They are headquartered in Dorr, Michigan.


The tribe's enrollment is currently closed to everyone, except newborn babies of current tribal members.[3] The tribe considers themselves "a body of mixed-blood Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomi" who trace the their descent from principal chief, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish, who was provided a reserve near Kalamazoo in a 1821 Treaty.[1]


The tribe was recognized by the US federal government in 1998. The current tribal council is as follows:

  • David K. Sprague, Chairperson
  • Ed Pigeon, Vice-Chair
  • Scott Sprague, Secretary
  • Kurt Trevan, Treasurer
  • Bob Peters, Bradley District Councilperson
  • Phyllis Davis, At-Large Councilperson
  • Leah Fodor, Bradley District Councilperson


The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Reservation (42°38′03″N 85°39′26″W / 42.63417°N 85.65722°W / 42.63417; -85.65722) is located in Wayland Township, south of the city of Wayland, Michigan.

On June 19, 2014, the United States Senate voted to the pass the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act (S. 1603; 113th Congress), a bill that would reaffirm the status of lands taken into trust by the Department of the Interior (DOI) for the benefit of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band.[4][5] The bill would clarify that the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band's land trust could not be challenged in court under the Supreme Court decision of Carcieri v. Salazar.[6]

Tribal enterprises[edit]

Cherish Parrish, sixth-generation black ash basket weaver and enrolled tribal member

The primary tribal enterprise is the Gun Lake Casino, built in 2009 on part of the 147 acres in Allegan County, Michigan granted as reservation land in January 2009.[7]

The tribe publishes a newspaper, called The Tribal Tribune.[3] They provided cultural workshops on traditional practices, such as cradle fire from flint, maple sugar, basswood and hemp dogbane cordage, snowsnakes or zhoshke'nayabo, and black ash basketry, a traditional art form among Michigan tribes.[8]


The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Pottawatomi are working with the Pokagon Band and Nottawaseppi Huron Band on a language program, Ggitike’men Ode Zheshmowen (We Grow the Language). Each tribe offers weekly language classes. The Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band's classes are taught by Ed Pigeon and Kevin Finney and are held every Monday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Luella Collins Community Center in Shelbyville, Michigan.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, William L. Church, May 16, 1994.
  2. ^ "Tribal Council." Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)
  3. ^ a b "Member Services." Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)
  4. ^ "CBO - S. 1603". Congressional Budget Office. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Cox, Ramsey (19 June 2014). "Senate passes land trust bill for Pottawatomi Indians". The Hill. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Senate Indian Affairs Committee business meeting and hearing". 19 May 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014. 
  7. ^ Ground broken on casino that Station will manage, Las Vegas Sun, Amanda Finnegan, Sept. 18, 2009
  8. ^ a b "Language/Culture." Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)

External links[edit]