NEW BUFFALO — A dedication ceremony for GTEGANÉS (The Little Garden) surrounding the Enduring Spirit sculpture created by Fritz Olsen in downtown New Buffalo was held on Wednesday, Sept. 18.
“After the dedication of the sculpture last year, The Pokagon Fund wanted to do something on the site to acknowledge the many contributions that the Pokagon Band has made to the city of New Buffalo and Harbor Country, which have. been absolutely extraordinary. Changed all of our lives and the lives of most of our neighbors as well,” said Pokagon Fund Board Chairman Rob Gow.
“The Board of Directors was determined to give a gift the City of New Buffalo, a garden that honored the Pokagon Band. What you see before you is that garden.”
GTEGANÉS was dedicated by Marcus Winchester, Director of the Pokagon Band’s Department of Language and Culture, after an address by New Buffalo Mayor Pro Tem Liz Ennis, and the unveiling of the dedication plaque.
Ennis said the city accepts the gift from the Pokagon Band of the Poawatomi “with deep appreciation.”
“Let it be known that from here on this Little Garden will symbolize the friendship and the neighborliness between the City of New Buffalo and the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi,” she said.
Winchester said he was happy to offer the garden on behalf of the Pokagon Potawatomi.
“We had a leader by the name of Topinabee ... and he had a village site right here ... (named after it’s distance of 30 miles from his summer village).
“Topinabee is a leader that I actually descend from, so my great, great, great grandfather way back in the line ... was one of the pioneers of our tribe who contributed to why we’re still here and why we weren’t forcibly removed out west,” Winchester said.
He said Topinabee decided the best way to co-exist with the new people arriving in the area was to welcome them and see what they could do to be neighborly.
“This is a continuance of that legacy,” Winchester said of GTEGANÉS before performing a song for the occasion.
The dedication closely coincided with the 25th Sovereignty Day (September 21, 2019) when the Band celebrated the 25th anniversary of the reaffirmation of Pokagon sovereignty.
Other special guests attending the dedication ceremony included Enduring Spirit sculptor Fritz Olsen and his wife Martha Cares; Shawn DelaForet of Nature’s Way Landscaping (designer of the garden); Andy Brown of Hearthwoods (who designed and built the 18-foot curved bench in the garden).
Brown said the bench is made from local repurposed black locust wood atop a powder-coated steel frame.
DelaForet said the garden includes native plants such guar whirling butterflies, avalanche calamagrostis, maxima jack-eyed Susans and agastache.