Matthew Wesaw, chairman of the Pokagon Band of Indians, was recently named Tribal Leader of the Year by the Native American Financial Officers Association and will accept his award March 21 at NAFOA’s annual meeting in New Orleans.
“Out of more than 550 tribes in the United States, Pokagon Band caught the attention of experts for its solid finances and enterprise expansion plans,” said John Warren, Pokagon Band treasurer in a tribal press release. “Bankers have told us that some countries should take note on how we manage financial resources.”
Wesaw, is a retired Michigan State Trooper, who has devoted his career to public service and has served as vice-chairman of the tribal council before being named chairman in 2009. A resident of Lansing, he has been the recipient of three gubernatorial appointments, serving on the Michigan Community Service Commission, as past chairman of the Michigan Commission on Indian Affairs, and as only the second Native American to be appointed to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission according to the release. He now serves as that commission’s chairman. He has served as area vice-president for the National Congress of American Indians since 2009 when he was elected by leaders of the Midwest’s 27 federally recognized tribes.
“It is such a privilege to honor and recognize the excellent work Chairman Wesaw is doing to benefit Indian country,” said Bill Lomax, NAFOA president in the release. “He is truly an innovator and an inspiration.”