Courtesy FireKeepers Casino Hotel
FireKeepers Casino Hotel plans for the future as Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Chairman Homer A. Mandoka (far left), recognizes R. Bruce McKee (center), and Brian D Decorah (right). McKee, the only president of FireKeepers in its six year history, announces his retirement at the end of 2015. Decorah was named president and CEO on July 1, 2015.

Moving On Up: This Week’s Promotions, Hirings and Transitions in Indian Country


Indian Country Today Media Network compiled a list of business executives, managers, attorneys, board members, medical professionals and others making big moves in Indian country:

Brian D. Decorah (

FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, Mich., recentlyannounced some strategic changes. R. Bruce McKee, CEO of the casino since its inception in 2006, will retire at the end of 2015, and the casino has named Brian D. Decorah its new president and CEO.

Decorah, Ho-Chunk Nation, has nearly 20 years of gaming experience. Previously, he was general manager of two Ho-chunk nation casinos, as well as GM of the North Star Mohican Casino Resort in Bowler, Wis. Brian Decorah brings passion and dedication to the FireKeepers Team,” said Homer A. Mandoka, tribal council chairman of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, in a news release, “He has a keen-eye for an optimal guest experience and expects to treat others, as they would treat him. He is skilled at earning respect from team members and is poised to continue our successful operating results.”

McKee brought 35 years of gaming experience to FireKeepers. He was previously COO and general manager of Harrington Raceway Casino in Harrington, Del., and spent ten years at Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, Inc. in a variety of positions.

Jonathan Powell, (Courtesy Cherokee Nation)

Jonathan Powell, director of marketing and business development for Cherokee Nation Industries, was selected to serve on the FCC’s Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC). He is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

“It is an honor to receive this nomination and to have the opportunity to serve as a voice for rural and tribal communities while influencing advancements in our nation’s communications systems,” said Powell, in a release. “My focus is providing the best services to all citizens, continuing to bridge interoperability gaps and ensuring rural and tribal land is a consideration when making recommendations to the FCC.”

Patrice Kunesh (Courtesy University of South Dakota)

Patrice Kunesh, Lakota, who recently served as deputy under secretary of rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and previously, as the deputy solicitor for Indian affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior, was appointed co-director of the Center for Indian Country Development (CICD) by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

In her new role, Kunesh will help CICD expand on the Federal Reserve System’s partnerships and collaborations with key stakeholders from across the country, a press release said.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack wished her well. “During her time at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and throughout her career, Patrice has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of policies and programs that better serve the needs of tribal communities. Indian country and, truly, the country as a whole have been extraordinarily well served by Patrice,” he said in a news release. 

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