Chief Leopold Pokagon, husband of Elizabeth Topinabee and father of Chief Simon Pokagon.
Chief Abram B. Burnett's grandfather, Chief Chebaas (Brother of Chief Topinabee), was the biological Uncle to Elizabeth Topinabee.
Leopold Pokagon was a Potawatomi Wkema/Ogima (Chief). Taking over for Topinabee, who died in 1826, Pokagon became the head of the Potawatomi of the Saint Joseph River Valley, a band that would come to take his name. His early life is surrounded by legend and many details are known only in the oral histories of the tribe. Stories suggest that he was born the son of a Chippawa father and Ottawa mother, around the year 1775. He was abducted from his Chippawa village by a Potawatomi chief and given to Chief Topenebee of the Potawatomi. He was given the name Pokagon because he was wearing a headdress which contained a human rib. The word Pokagon means "rib". However, books later written by his son, Simon, tend to refute this legend.
Leopold emerged as a very successful tribal leader after 1825.
Leopold Pokagon who came to Silver Creek Township from his village at Bertrand Michigan was Chief of the Potawatomi for forty-two years. He was present at the massacre of Fort Dearborn in 1812 and later represendted the tribe in negotiations that led to the sale of lands on which Chicago sits for three cents an acre.
Chief Leopold Pokagon and his tribe of Potawatomi Indians built a log church in Silver Creek Township in 1838 and deeded the forty acres of land on which it stood to the Catholic Bishop of Detroit. Chief Pokagon came to Silver Creek Township from his native village outside nearby Niles. When Chief Pokagon died in 1841, his grave was placed under what is now the right corner of the present-day brick church. The church is Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church and is off M-152 in Silver Creek twsp, Cass county Mi.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, is a federally recognized Indian Nation in northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Tribal headquarters are located in Dowagiac Michigan with a satellite office in South Bend Indiana. The tribe maintains a formative website of their own.