The decade of the 1970s proved to be a pivotal period in the development of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi’s political organization. Since the late 1960’s, David Mackety had met with members urging the group to establish a formal structure through which to apply for funds, elicit additional member involvement, and gain outside organizational support. By 1970, the leaders of the band felt no time could be lost if the group was to achieve its objective to have its treaty-relationship with the federal government recognized again.

On July 17, 1970, the group registered with the State of Michigan to become an incorporated non-profit entity in order to have a legal entity through which to access grants and other assistance. The newly registered group became known as Huron Potawatomi Incorporated or HPI. The Articles of Incorporation were filed that same day, stating that the purpose was:

“To promote the social, political and economic interest of the members including working with the Michigan State Commission on Indian Affairs, or any other state organization having to do with Indian Affairs; and including dealing with the United States Government when necessary to help carry out the purpose of this organization; and including dealing with Foundations.”

Later that year, HPI polled approximately 50 members attending a meeting held in Athens and elected its first tribal council with David Mackety as council chairman, an office which he would retain with only one short interruption for the next 20 years.

The political and organizational development of HPI continued through the remainder of the decade. In 1975, for example, HPI sent a letter to Commissioner Morris Thompson of the BIA informing him of their intent to petition for Federal acknowledgment. To conduct the costly historical and genealogical research necessary to support their petition, HPI applied for outside funding. The Administration for Native Americans and the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare awarded grant monies to HPI in 1977 following the submission of several grant proposals the group wrote. In 1979, after much community input, the membership approved the first written constitution.

These milestones in Huron Potawatomi Inc’s early political and organizational life shaped the infrastructure of its council and support staff during the 1970’s and future years.

References:

United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, et al. “Summary Under the Criteria and Evidence for Proposed Finding Huron Potawatomi, Inc.” HPI-V001-D004, https://www.bia.gov/sites/bia.gov/files/assets/as-ia/ofa/petition/009_hurpot_MI/009_pf.pdf.