(Hello my friends)
Spring is just about in full bloom here and the tribal lands are green and colorful. With such a mild and short winter it seems a very short time since fall. Our eight year drought is still in evidence in the ponds and lakes, but things are growing again with the spring rains. Our corn fields come right up to tribal headquarters, so each day we get to see the long emerald rows get at least an inch taller. The last trees to leaf out in Oklahoma are the pecans and other hardwoods, so our big shade trees on the golf course are just now coming out of bud. This is my favorite time of the year.
I got out the fishing tackle last night, mostly just to play around. With little spare time, most of my fishing is just day dreaming, but it is still fun. I believe it was President Calvin Coolidge that said “time spent fishing does not count against the time God allotted to you here on Earth.”
Our new fishing venue for tribal members to “cane pole” fish is the geothermal pond that cools the water for the exchangers for FireLake Arena, FireLake Bowling Center and BDC Gun Room. The cane pole requirement is to keep casting lures out of the cooling units that line the pond bottom. The water quality is good and the fish that were pumped in from the river when we filled the pond have grown amazingly. We will open the fishing this summer after the Family Heritage Festival and CPN General Council meeting on the last Saturday in June.
Planning is underway for the presentation to the tribal legislature for the annual budget. One of the newest proposed projects is an Ace Hardware franchise store east of FireLake Express Grocery in Tecumseh. The recent approval of our application by the Ace Hardware Company could mean their first franchise store on an Indian reservation in the entire United States. This is also a much needed service in the Tecumseh community. We hope to include some building materials and farm supplies.
All of our expansion plans are centered on creating employment opportunities for Citizen Potawatomi and earning revenue to deliver services to our people. With our disputes and lawsuits with the state nearing an end, we hope to catch up on the projects that were delayed. This will include investment opportunities for our people, new housing of every kind, more entertainment venues, cultural events, and new and exciting jobs to fill. This is an exciting and hopeful time for our tribe.
One of our most pressing needs right now is for information. We need to know what skills our people possess. We are putting together a form of census to find out what our tribal citizens can do, or want to learn to do. Employment here at your tribal home can be a future option for you or your family. Please help us find out what we need – and you want. Look for it in the mail and online.
Thank you for the honor of serving as your tribal chairman I believe my record as tribal chairman shows the progress we have made and ask all to vote in the June 24, 2017 election. Remember, absentee ballots must be postmarked by June 4, 2017 to be counted.
John “Rocky” Barrett
(He Leads Them Home)