Pokagon Band Selects Interim Leader

Posted: Updated:

An interim executive director has been chosen for a Native American tribe located in northern Indiana and parts of Michigan. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Vice Chairman Bob Moody will take over the role. He succeeds Matt Wesaw, who is leaving for a leadership position with the state of Michigan. October 18, 2013

News Release

DOWAGIAC, Mich. - The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is pleased to announce that Chairman Matt Wesaw has been selected as the Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Matt Wesaw will succeed Leslee Fritz, who has been Interim Director since the retirement of Daniel Krichbaum earlier in the year. Matt Wesaw is also the first Native American Indian appointed to this position. In accepting this position, Matt Wesaw has also decided to retire from his roles Chairman of Pokagon Band Tribal Council and President and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority. Matt Wesaw will be succeeded in the interim by Vice Chairman Bob Moody, until the Pokagon Band holds a special election in January 2014 to elect a new Chairman.

In addition to his roles in Pokagon Band government, Matt Wesaw was first appointed to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in 2004. He was also elected as Michigan Civil Rights Commission Chair in 2010 and served through 2011.

Matt Wesaw has also held the position of Chairman of Pokagon Tribal Council twice, first from 1996 when the Pokagon Band pursued a compact with the state of Michigan to open a casino and again in 2008 following the opening of the Pokagon Band’s first Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo. Previously, Matt Wesaw also served 26 years with the Michigan Department of State Police as a Trooper and Detective Sergeant. He was also lobbyist for the Michigan State Police Troopers Association for seven years.

"I feel very privileged and honored to have been selected as Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. Having served on the Commission for several years, Civil Rights is an area that I am very passionate about and I’m excited to focus on it in the final phase of my career," said Matt Wesaw. "I leave the Pokagon Tribal Council and Gaming Authority in the very capable hands of my colleagues. I feel I have been able to contribute to the continued and long-term success of the Pokagon Band at important times in our history. I also have the utmost confidence in our current and future leaders and would like to thank all Pokagon Citizens for the support that they have provided me over the years."

As Executive Director, Matt Wesaw will be responsible for implementing public policy set forth by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, including providing executive leadership for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and its employees working in five offices throughout the state to enforce civil rights statutes in the State of Michigan.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights is responsible for civil rights complaint investigation as well as outreach efforts and educational programs to promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. It is also home to the Michigan Women's Commission, the Hispanic/Latino Commission of Michigan, the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, Council on Arab and Chaldean American Affairs, and the Division on Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

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 4,600 citizens. The Pokagon Band's ten county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. 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. The Tribe’s administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov.

Source: The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians