IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz and Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Chairman Matthew Wesaw have signed an agreement to develop more education and cultural preservation programs for Native Americans.
IUPUI started its American Indian Studies Program three years ago. This agreement to expand that program will add staff to the department. Pogakon Band of Potawatomi Chairman Matthew Wesaw says the agreement translates into an added full time staff member, with his tribe paying the salary and IUPUI paying the benefits. Wesaw says while it may not seem like a big step to some people, it’s the advancement of a much larger effort.
“We look forward to working with the universities to develop academic programs that help Native American students learn, grow, and succeed in the 21st Century,” Wesaw said. “This bond will help us tell our story to a greater number of people and heighten awareness of who we, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi were, but more importantly, who we are today.”
American Indian Studies Program Director Johnny Flynn says the territory that became Indiana is home to more treaties signed with Native Americans than any other state. He says half those agreements made promises to ensure advanced education, but were rarely honored. The Pogakon Band of Potawatomi is the only federally recognized tribe in the state.