FireKeepers Unveils Honorary Tribal Mural

NHBP Honorary Mural
L-R: Dorie Rios, NHBP Tribal Council Vice Chairperson; Homer A. Mandoka, NHBP Tribal Council Sergeant-At-Arms; Jeff Chivis, NHBP Tribal Council Treasurer; Jamie Stuck, NHBP Tribal Council Chairperson; and Nancy Smit, NHBP Tribal Council Secretary.

BATTLE CREEK, MI – FireKeepers Casino Hotel has installed a captivating mural to pay tribute to the history and culture of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe (NHBP). The mural, spanning 56 ft. in width and standing over 8 ft. tall, features more than 60 meticulously crafted images, offering a captivating historical timeline of the tribe and provides a unique glimpse into the lives of tribal members. Months of preparation and a collaborative endeavor between the NHBP Culture Department, Culture Committee Leaders, and FireKeepers Casino have culminated in the impressive installation, which serves as a symbol of the NHBP’s journey from the past to the present day.

“I have learned as a Kwe (Native woman), that we come from a strong people, and I always gravitate toward positivity,” said Nancy Smit, NHBP Tribal Council Secretary and NHBP Culture Committee Chairperson. “In our culture, everyone has an equal voice, and the things that we bring to the table are pretty incredible. By displaying our profound legacy and story in such an illustrative fashion at FireKeepers, this mural provides an opportunity for its thousands of annual visitors to briefly learn and acknowledge our history in the area and stands as a testament to NHBP’s past, present and future in the Southwest Michigan region and beyond.”

The NHBP Tribe has a historical legacy rooted in the Potawatomi Nation, which once occupied lands along the southeastern shoreline of Lake Michigan, stretching from Detroit to Grand Rivers and southward into Northern Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. In the past, tribal members faced forced relocation to lands west of the Mississippi River during the Trail of Death. Despite these hardships, a group of tribal members escaped and returned to their native lands in Michigan. Presently, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe resides on the Pine Creek Indian Reservation in Fulton, MI.

The NHBP’s journey towards federal recognition began before 1935, but it wasn’t until December 19, 1995, that NHBP achieved federal recognition. This milestone allowed NHBP to continue its mission of improving the lives of tribal members and community members around NHBP. There are over 1,500 tribal members, many of whom reside in Southwest Michigan within the tribe’s seven-county service area that covers Allegan, Barry, Branch, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ottawa counties.

“We are deeply honored to collaborate with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tribe to create this mural, which stands as a symbol of respect and admiration for their enduring history and remarkable cultural legacy,” said Frank Tecumseh, CEO at FireKeepers Casino.