What does it mean to you to be a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation?
“It means understanding why I am living and doing some of the things I do. It means knowledge of my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and hundreds of aunts, uncles, and cousins. It means friendships with people I would never have known and to some degree are related to. It means being able to read a book and imagine how events written are part of my being. It means seeing a turtle, a muskrat, a fisher, a bald eagle, and other creatures and knowing part of me relates to the creatures in ways shared by my Potawatomi parentage. It means seeing the sunrise and sunset and knowing a new day is beginning and another day is ending as it has for Potawatomi for many generations. It means I am a Citizen Potawatomi.”
In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge facing the tribe?
“At a meeting I attended a few years ago, two groups of individuals met and realized that they were cousins. Without knowledge of relationships, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation can become just another government without connections to the vast majority of its individuals. The biggest challenge is keeping leadership connected to all Citizen Potawatomi and keeping Citizen Potawatomi connected with each other.
A chose second challenge is assuring equality to services and benefits whenever possible to every Citizen Potawatomi wherever they live.”
What inspired you to run in this election?
“At the first Oregon Regional Council meeting at the Hilton in downtown Portland on November 1, 1987 Chairman Barrett introduced me to a large part of the Slavin family, the Pearls, that I knew nothing about. I also purchased from R. David Edmunds, his book ‘The Potawatomis – Keepers of the Fire’.
I was hooked. I wanted to know more about my family, my tribe. One of the best ways to learn is to be an active participant.
Over the years I have served in many capacities in my community. Most recently I served several communities in Uganda by providing eye care and eyeglasses to over 800 individuals in need. There is a need and obligation to provide assistance through the use of skills and knowledge learned.”
If you win the election, what are your plans for the upcoming session?
“To the Citizen Potawatomi of District 8 I will contact them and ask first, ‘What do you need?’ Second, ‘What do you want?’ Third, ‘When is the best time to meet?’
My personal goals are: 1. Continue programs that improve Citizen Potawatomi self-awareness of being a tribal member. 2. Improve the general health of members through Citizen Potawatomi Nation funded programs. 3. Seek constitutional changes that provide more equality of services to Citizen Potawatomi no manner where they live. 4. Provide information to District 8 members so they have control of being Citizen Potawatomi. 5. Provide regularly scheduled meetings in various areas of the district.”