IUPUI, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Sign First of Its Kind Agreement
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Condensed by Native Village
Indian: IUPUI [Indiana University/Purdue University,
Indianapolis] and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians are
joining efforts to develop educational and cultural programs for the Indian nation.
Pokagon Chairman Matt Wesaw and IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz signed a
formal proclamation during a ceremony at IUPUI. Afterwards,
Potawatomi leaders draped a special
around the shoulders of the chancellor.
“This historic alliance with the Pokagon people will allow IUPUI to
develop an American Indian office and an academic program that
supports our students and enriches their knowledge about Native
American cultures and contributions,” Bantz said.
The ceremony also marked the official opening of the American Indian
Programs Office at IUPUI. AIP is an umbrella organization for
Native American Studies, Native American Staff and Faculty Council,
and Native American Student Alliance. It is also linked with the Native
American Heritage Festival in Indianapolis and Native American
programs in city and state government.
The Pokagon Band homeland includes six northern Indiana counties and
four counties in southwestern Michigan. Its citizens are descended
from the Potawatomi who have lived in that area for centuries.
The Pokagon Band is the only
federally recognized tribe in Indiana.
Johnny P. Flynn, Director of the American Indian Programs, said: “The signing of the
agreement marks the first time in 200 years that Native Americans
and educators are coming together to plan the future of education
for Native Americans in Indiana.”
Benefits under the agreement include:
Indian Programs administrator will be hired to gather student, staff
and faculty data. The administrator will also
develop the American Indian
Studies minor. His or her salary will be paid for by the Pokagon Band of
The Pokagon Band will also be involved in creating educational programs that
meet the needs of its citizens and workforce.
IUPUI's unique relationship with a
sovereign Indian nation can serve as an example to tribes and
other universities across the country. According to Flynn, IUPUI may
create a special distance education program for the Pokagon Band.
It's also looking into a Native-centric studies programs through IUPUI’s Museum Studies Program.
This would enable Pokagon students to learn about becoming Native American curators
and enable student artists to gain expertise in their traditional