Health promotion, diagnosis and care, and in a culturally appropriate setting, are the most prominent features of the new health center opened by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
The center will serve not only Pokagon citizens but also “thousands of Native Americans,” the band said in a statement on November 21. It’s a 35,000-square-foot building complete with amedical clinic, dental suite, pharmacy, traditional healing area and behavioral health services, the band said.
“The completion of the Pokagon Health Center is a historic milestone for the Pokagon Band as we are now able to deliver high quality healthcare services to our Citizens,” said Pokagon Chairman John P. Warren in a statement. “The opening of this state-of-the-art facility represents years of hard work and perseverance. This day would not be possible without the help of our Pokagon Council Members, Elders and Citizens who have all have supported making this dream a reality. We look forward to more initiatives like these as we work towards providing more needed resources and services for our Citizens.”
The space has room for three doctors to work, with separate exam rooms for each, while the dental suite has space for two dentists working with four dental chairs. In addition, “the physical therapy area has a therapy pool that has room for six people at a time and will also have resistance machines allowing people to swim against the current,” the band said. “An exercise area includes fitness machines, restrooms, lockers and showers.”
The center includes an extensive behavioral health sciences services arm, which counsels people dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, according to the band’s website. The environment is culturally sensitive and includes attention to Native American spirituality.
“Professional services are provided with Integrity, Respect, Honesty, Wisdom, Honor, Truth, and Love (the 7 Grandfather Teachings) to cherish each human being's journey in life with the understanding that our responsibility is to give each individual the choice to direct their own life,” the website states. “It is structured to promote personal growth, strengthen identity, improve relationships with family, assist in maintaining harmony and balance with life and offer the opportunity to affirm the traditional spiritual values and beliefs of our ancestors.”
As if that weren’t enough, the building meets qualifications for being certified as environmentally friendly and energy-efficient, the band said, as well as being made with colors and materials that reflect the Pokagon culture. In addition, some of those who built the place were Pokagon citizens serving under the tribe’s apprenticeship program.