Topinabee whos actual name was “Dokmebé” or he who sits quietly, was born in 1758 in Pawating at his father Nanaquiba’s village site where the Dowagiac Creek runs into the St. Joseph River. Topinabee was the chief of the Potawatomi after his father. He was a main signer of every Potawatomi treaty involving the St Joseph Potawatomi. His name is listed 1st on each & every treaty that he was involved with. Noted as one of the greatest chiefs of the Potawatomi.
Topinabee had a Fall-Winter village in Niles where present day US 31 bypass meets US 12 (Old Sauk Trail). This village was called “Nswabdêk” or 30 describing 30 miles to New Buffalo where he had a Spring-Summer village right on Lake Michigan. Later on Topinabee had a village where present day Niles Buchanan Rd. meets Carey Mission Rd. Issac McCoy started Carey Mission at this village that Topinabee had named “N’do waw goy uk” meaning place of gathering or foraging (also where the City of Dowagiac’s name comes from).
In Berrien County the Sauk Trail ran along what is now Bertrand Road (which turns into Chicago Road when the road enters Indiana), there is a branch of that trail which runs NE into present day Niles, MI, along this branch is where the village was located