The strong influential role of Samuel Mandoka within the Pine Creek settlement began during the lifetime of Steven Pamptopee. At Steven’s death in 1926, Samuel was not formally designated to the “office” as chief but was essentially appointed by consensus of the residents of the Pine Creek Reservation because of his good education and outgoing personality.
Samuel Mandoka was born in 1864. He was educated at Albion College and was a skillful speaker who regularly pleased crowds by wearing his regalia. Even during Steven Pamptopee’s term, Samuel frequently served as Tribal spokesman.
Mandoka assumed a great deal of “outreach effort” directed toward the surrounding non-Indian community, with the intention of gaining popular sympathy for Indian history and culture. He began to speak to historical societies, attend county fairs, and make appearances at schools. He also entered local politics, and in 1925 was chosen constable of Indiantown on the Republican ticket, receiving 64 more votes than his opponent.
Public relations by the NHBP was already in place before Samuel Mandoka became influential in the group, but he greatly intensified them. Throughout his leadership, the Pine Creek Reservation residents appeared in numerous pageants, at fairs, in parades, etc. On these occasions, the group demonstrated traditional crafts such as basket making.
On his deathbed in 1934, Samuel offered the chief position to his son Grover Mandoka, but Grover declined, saying, “The Tribe now follows the white man’s way;” NHBP’s leadership by chiefs was over.
Rodwan, John, and Virginia Anewishki. Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, A People in Progress. Pine Creek Reservation, 2009.
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.