This year, the Pokagon Band Department of Natural Resources was selected to host the 31st Annual Great Lakes Regional Native American Fish and Wildlife Society Conference. The Conference took place at Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, Michigan.
Opening ceremonies included Southern Straight, Pokagon Band Ogitchedaw, Clarence White, and Pokagon Band Chairman Wesaw. More than 100 tribal, federal, state, and agency representatives from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan gathered to present on topics related to the environment, environmental education, wildlife and fisheries. Tribal conservation officers participated in multiple trainings, including active shooter and below 100 training.
On the first day of the conference, participants were able to attend workshops regarding trapping or electrofishing. A traditional feast was provided, and the Red Lake Nation sponsored and cooked a walleye fry luncheon. During the closing night events, donations for a silent auction and raffle were present, which brought in over $4,000 in bids for tribal youth scholarships. Awards were presented at the conference including scholarships to tribal youth and regional accomplishment awards. Dale Keene, Pokagon Band Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Technician, was presented with the Great Lakes Regional Technician of the Year award and Kevin Modlin, Pokagon Band Tribal Police Department, Conservation Officer, was presented with the Great Lakes Regional Conservation Officer of the Year award. Both awards are nominated by regional individuals and reviewed by the selection committee prior to being selected and awarded. Conference attendees indicated that they felt very welcomed into the community and that the hospitality of the Band helped to make the conference one of the best since its inception 31 years ago.