Thursday, November 2, 2023


Canton passive nature park is dedicated by Potawatomi

Members of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Nation joined Canton Township officials and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell last Friday for the naming of a nature area in the community.

The undeveloped 134 acres of land at the northwest corner of Ford Road and Ridge Road is now officially the Zibiwes Nature Area. The dedication included special presentations from members of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi Nation. 

Canton Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak led the festivities, which included special remarks by U. S. Rep. Debbie Dingell and Terry Campbell, regional manager of the Office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.  

The nature area was designated by members of the Canton Township Board of Trustees in May in an effort to preserve and protect the open space, natural habitats, and greenspace of the undeveloped woodlands and wetlands located on the northwest section of the Canton community. The area, officials said, is home to many native plants and animal habitats.

Special guests from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Nation
 help celebrate the official naming of the Canton
Township Zibiwés Nature Area. Township officials and
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell joined Township Supervisor
Anne Marie Graham-Hudak representatives
 at the celebration last Friday.
Canton Township Board of Trustees collaborated with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Representations Outreach Board on name recommendations, as well as the acquisition of cultural resources and information. The Pokagon group, after much research and study of the area, ultimately recommended the name “Zibiwés” (pronounced ZEE-bee-wess) based on the Bodwéwadmimwen Potawatomi language word for creek, since the landform topography of the area includes a large section of Fellows Creek.  

Township officials plan to incorporate accessible trails, parking, and a nature-themed playground into the Zibiwés Nature Area using a $1 million federal grant secured with the help of U. S. Rep. Haley Stevens and Dingell in the 2022 omnibus spending package. Additionally, the Canton Township Board of Trustees has identified $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act appropriation for this parcel to help cultivate a public space. 

Land for the Zibiwés Nature Area was purchased in 2000 with grant funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. As part of the township 2021 planning process, a vision for the design of the property was articulated by the community, calling for a largely passive and natural park area, officials said.

Featured Pokagon Band cultural presentations included an invocation and prayer led by Elder Misho Donald Sumners, as well as performances by singer and drummer Brian Moore. Additional Pokagon Band members were also in attendance, including Amy Jo Morseau, cultural activities coordinator for the Pokagon Center of History & Culture; Julie Dye, chair of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Representations Outreach Board as well as Rhonda Keene, a tribal council member.  In addition, several Indigenous American dancers from across the state performed to a rhythm drum during the event.  

Visitors to the rustic park can take advantage of a half-mile crushed gravel trail, from dawn until dusk. 

For more information about the Zibiwés Nature Area, visit or call (734) 394-5360.