Michigan Department of Civil Rights names first Native American executive board director

Oct 18, 2013

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission has announced that Matt Wesaw will be the new Executive Board Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.

Wesaw will be the first Native American to lead MDCR. He has chosen to retire as Chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and President and CEO of the Pokagon Gaming Authority to take this position. In the past, he was a Michigan state police trooper, and a director for the Michigan State Police Troopers Association. He also served on the Commission of Indian Affairs and won the Native American Financial Officers Association's Tribal Leader of the Year award in 2012.

“I feel very privileged and honored to have been selected as Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights,” Wesaw said in a press release. “Having served on the Commission for several years, Civil Rights is an area that I am very passionate about and I’m excited to focus on it in the final phase of my career.”

“Matt Wesaw brings a depth and breadth of experience and sound judgment that will be of great benefit to the Department of Civil Rights and the state of Michigan,” said Governor Rick Snyder. “I look forward to joining with him in the important work of ensuring that every citizen of this great state has the opportunity to live, work, and learn in an environment free from discrimination, ready to pursue the opportunities around them.”

Wesaw will begin his tenure as Executive Director on Monday, October 28.

-Michelle Nelson, Michigan Radio Newsroom