Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( Michigan)|
|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 named for a 19th-century Ojibwe chief. They were formerly known as the Gun Lake Band of Grand River Ottawa Indians, the United Nation of Chippewa, Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, Inc., and the Gun Lake Tribe or Gun Lake Band. They are headquartered in Dorr, Michigan.
Ancestors of this mixed band belonged to the Ojibwe (Chippewa), Ottawa, and Pottawatomi peoples, who lived around the Great Lakes in what became Canada and the United States. The tribes tended to be highly decentralized, with most people living in bands. Under pressure and encroachment by Europeans, there were substantial population losses among the tribes, and some of their people moved west into Minnesota. Others remained in rural areas of Michigan and Wisconsin.
They all spoke Algonquian languages, part of a large language family extending from the Atlantic Coast and around the Great Lakes, and had some cultural similarities. Original members of the Gun Lake Band were survivors of these three tribes who gathered together in community near Gun Lake, Michigan.
The tribe was recognized by the US federal government in 1998. It has a written constitution and elected democratic government, consisting of six tribal council members and a chairperson.
The current tribal council is as follows:
- Scott Sprague, Chairperson
- Ed Pigeon, Vice-Chair
- Jeff Martin, Secretary
- Bob Peters, Treasurer
- Jodie Palmer, At-Large Councilperson
- Phyllis Davis, At-Large Councilperson
- Jennie Pearl Heeren, Salem District Councilperson
The tribal council voted on rules for enrollment or membership in the tribe. As of 2009, the tribe's enrollment is open only to babies born to current tribal members.
The tribe says they are "a body of mixed-blood Chippewa, Ottawa, and Pottawatomi" who trace their descent from the principal chief Match-e-be-nash-she-wish. Under the Treaty of Chicago in 1821, the US government provided him and his followers with a reserve near Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In 2009 under Carcieri v. Salazar, the US Supreme Court ruled that the government could not take land into trust for tribes that were recognized after the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Congress in 2014 passed Public Law No: 113-179 (09/26/2014), a law to clarify that the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band's land trust assigned to them in 2005 could not be challenged in court under the United States Supreme Court decision of Carcieri v. Salazar.
The primary tribal enterprise is the Gun Lake Casino. The first phase was built in 2009 on part of the 147 acres in Allegan County, Michigan that the tribe was given in January 2009 as a land base by the federal government. It generated 750 jobs during construction. The tribe estimated that it would attract 60,000 guests annually to area hotels. The tribe did not plan to build and operate a hotel. Further, they estimated the enterprise would bring 600 casino jobs.
The tribe publishes a newspaper, called The Tribal Tribune. They provide cultural workshops on traditional practices, such as cradle fire from flint, tapping and processing maple sugar, creating basswood and hemp dogbane cordage, snowsnakes or zhoshke'nayabo, and black ash basketry, a traditional art form among Michigan tribes.
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.
- Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish, 18th- and 19th-century Ojibwe chief
- Petition for Federal Acknowledgment of Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan, William L. Church, May 16, 1994.
- "Tribal Council", Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)
- "Member Services." Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)
- "Overview P.L. 113-179", Congress; accessed 27 November 2016
- "Senate Indian Affairs Committee business meeting and hearing". Indianz.com. 19 May 2014. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "CBO - S. 1603". Congressional Budget Office. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- Cox, Ramsey (19 June 2014). "Senate passes land trust bill for Pottawatomi Indians". The Hill. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
- "Ground broken on casino that Station will manage", Las Vegas Sun, Amanda Finnegan, Sept. 18, 2009
- "Language/Culture." Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi. (retrieved 18 Dec 2009)
- Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi, official website
- Potawatomi language materials provided by the tribe
- Gun Lake Casino website
- Native Americans in Michigan Databases, Mainly Michigan website, includes "Durant Roll of 1908" and "Mt. Pleasant Indian School Register (1893 to 1932)"