The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, under Leopold Pokagon’s leadership, negotiated the right to remain in the lower Great Lakes area, including what is now South Bend. Because the Pokagons demonstrated a strong attachment to Catholicism, they were able to defy the 1833 Treaty of Chicago which established the conditions for the removal of the Potawatomi westward. The Pokagons’ connection to South Bend was most poignantly illustrated with the founding of the University of Notre Dame. Fr. Stephen Badin, a University founder, ministered to the Potawatomi in Pokagon’s original village in Bertrand, Michigan, and then moved the mission to the current site of the University.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi