Pick a date between Sept. 4 and Nov. 10 1838, and it will mark a time when our Potawatomi ancestors were moving along the route between Indiana and Kansas known as The Trail of Death. Once the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson, the United States government began moving Indians east of the Mississippi River from their native lands to lands void of white settlers west of the Mississippi.
Some left their homelands peacefully, while others resisted. It’s hard for me to imagine how it must have felt to have the only way of life you had ever known taken from you. Your food and clothing sources, lodging, burial grounds, possessions, natural resources and everything familiar to you were all left behind for a new unknown way of life in a distant land. We must never forget those brave men, women and children, and the suffering they endured as they fought for their very survival. While conditions were just too deplorable for all to survive, through the hardships and oppression, we remain as proud Potawatomi descendants.
It has been a long and hard road for Native Americans to be recognized for their contributions, their cultures to be revived and celebrated, and their stories to be told. In 1990 George H.W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Similar proclamations have been declared by U.S. presidents since 1994. It’s a good time to share your heritage with family and friends as many don’t know.
I would like to remind everyone of our annual Heritage Festival taking place Nov. 4 in Visalia, California. It is a joint District 6 and District 7 event. Last year’s event was so much fun with nearly 200 tribal members and their families in attendance. Everyone should soon receive announcements if they haven’t already. Heritage Festival is an autumn weather outdoor event so it can be warm or cool, or both, so please be sure to bring appropriate attire. Representative Mark Johnson and I look forward to seeing everyone again.
Wisdom from the Word: [A Pilgrim Song] I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. — Psalm 121:1-2 MSG
Rande K. Payne/Mnedo Gabo
Legislator District 6
31150 Road 180
Visalia, CA 93292-9585