Pokagon Band Elders Council Honors One of Its Own for Humanitian Activism

Pokagon Elders Council wiht Brian Antisdel and his wife.

Published March 10, 2019

DOWAGIAC, Mich. — The Elders Council of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians recently honored Brian Antisdel, a Pokagon citizen from Dowagiac, for his volunteer and humanitarian efforts. Tribal elders presented him with an eagle feather in a ceremony conducted by a spiritual elder and an Ogitchidaw veteran. This high honor is bestowed on individuals who demonstrate strength, bravery, or act in alignment with traditional teachings.

Antisdel is known in Dowagiac for his local activism. He has delivered food and water when called upon. Other times he initiates kindness, such as when he paid for students’ negative lunch balances at the middle school, or distributed heaters to locals during the polar vortex in February.

He has also travelled to places experiencing crises like Flint, Michigan, where he delivered water to residents in need, and to the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, where he assisted with safety and management during the pipeline protest. His work in disaster zones in floods and hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and North Carolina, and wildfires in California have led him to join the Cajun Navy Foundation.

Brian Antisdel

“Brian has voluntarily put his own safety at risk to come to the aid of others,” said Judy Winchester, Elders Council Chair. “He has chosen a path consistent with the Seven Grandfather teachings of the Pokagon Band.  We honor him as an example that only what is done for others will last.”

“I see lots of things that break my heart,” Antisdel said. “In California, I have never in my life witnessed such death, loss, being alone, searching night and day for anything alive. Being there with goods the community sent or a hug or a smile was the most amazing thing I had ever felt, that’s when I knew what I was supposed to do.”

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