March 04, 2009 –
MAYETTA: Four members of the Tribal Council made a visit to Shabbona, Illinois on February 23 and 24 to meet with local business and civic leaders and to offer their expertise and knowledge about the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) people and history.
Tribal Council members Steve Ortiz, Jim Potter, Ryan Dyer and Carrie O’Toole spent two days attending meetings, giving presentations, doing historical research and reaching out to area residents in an effort of good will.
Other PBPN representatives who attended meetings on Monday included Tim Ramirez, director of public works, Chris DeCoteau, land manager, and Kathy Lake, an environmental engineer, regarding preserving the tribe’s land in Illinois.
The primary focus of the Council’s two-day visit was to attend a breakfast conference that was sponsored by the DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation and was held at Kishwaukee College in Malta. Also during their stay, Council members made a presentation to the Shabbona-Lee-Rollo Historical Society, provided updates to a free standing PBPN exhibit that is housed in the Flewellin Memorial Library in Shabbona, and stopped at the Sycamore Public Library to examine historical documents about Chief Shab-eh-nay and to meet with DeKalb County Historian Phyllis Kelley.
In 2006 the PBPN purchased 128 acres of land near the community of Shabbona and are hoping to build an electronic bingo hall on the property. Presently the land is being evaluated by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) as to whether it should receive reservation status or not. The land was originally reserved by the 1829 Treaty of Prairie du Chien for Chief Shab-eh-nay and his Band which merged into and which is now recognized as the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
Since that time, members of the Tribal Council and other PBPN leaders have been traveling back and forth to the area to establish a business and neighborly presence inDeKalb County and the surrounding communities.
An intergovernmental agreement between the PBPN and the Shabbona Village Board was struck last August where the board agreed to provide sewer and water service for the proposed gaming facility and pledged unanimous support for the project.
No date has been set as to when a determination will be made by the NIGC.