Pokagon Band Unveils New Justice Center in Dowagiac

Work is complete and the ceremonial ribbon cutting has taken place on a new 23,000 square foot Justice Center for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Dowagiac. That new center is now home to the new Pokagon Tribal Police Headquarters, the Pokagon Tribal Court, and a new Peacemaking Center.

Officials welcomed the new Justice Center in ceremonies at mid-morning today, following completion of the project over the last 15 months. Construction began on the center back in September of 2018.

Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Chairman of the Pokagon Band says, “The completion of our new Justice Center marks the culmination of a long-term vision to centralize Pokagon government operations in Dowagiac, and co-locate our law enforcement operations and our Tribal Court.” He adds, “The center blends modern features with traditional elements used in our culture to resolve conflicts. Not only will the new Justice Center ensure our officers and judicial center personnel have access to the facilities and resources they need, but our area government partners through our inter-local agreements, will also have access to training at the facility. This will further enhance continuity with our law enforcement partners.”

The new Pokagon Tribal Police Headquarters contains workspace for up to 20 police officers. The facility also includes dedicated space for training, evidence, interview rooms, holding cells, conference space, and lockers and changing areas for officers.

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The Pokagon Tribal Court and Peacemaking Center will house five court staff and includes important and historical features that previous generations of Pokagon Citizens used in peacemaking and restorative justice practices in community conflict resolution, including an outdoor peacemaking circle, an indoor healing fire room, and a circular courtroom. These purpose-built facilities will offer the space for cultural activities as well as places for elders, veterans, and other groups to host talking circles or gatherings.

The architect for the project was Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering, LLC, which is wholly owned by Mn0-Bmadsen, the non-gaming investment arm of the Pokagon Band. Construction was completed by CSM Group, headquartered in Kalamazoo.

The photos accompanying this story on Moody on the Market are courtesy of the Pokagon Band.