What does it mean to you to be a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation?
As an enrolled citizen of the CPN since birth, I have a strong sense of nationality and responsibility. I am grateful for my native heritage which I actively pursue. I do not just give lip-service to “preserve culture,” I live it! I am involved, learn our language, active in the Native community, seek Tribal office, and more. My wife belongs to a huge economically and culturally rich Indian nation in Oklahoma. We are blessed with multi-tribal family, friends and support.
In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge facing the tribe?
The greatest challenge facing the tribe are changing notions of “success.” New studies indicate that the upcoming American generation is less interested in financial gain than their parents and more interested in job and social fulfillment. The emerging “digital natives” care less about building enterprises and are more interested in social enterprises. They are hungry for cultural things. Younger generations see the futility of the dominant society paradigm that defines success.
Our young people are sure to reshape CPN governmental agenda in years to come. Within its narrative of success, the Tribe should endorse agents of change, build social enterprise, and include its diverse constituencies at the table of strategic planning.
What inspired you to run in this election?
My partner in life and I prayed earnestly before entering this race. Upon discussions with Elders and friends, we became excited about the possibilities. Potawatomi are People of the Fire. As such, I am qualified and willing to be Keeper of the Fire and a strong advocate for District 7. My term will be fresh, engaging, honest, and representative of proud Potawatomi living in contemporary society.
If you win the election, what are your plans for the upcoming session?
Completing the task of balancing governmental powers is a must. CPN government is in precarious position. Specifically, governmental structure has three branches: the executive, the judicial, and relatively new legislative branch.
The purpose of legislative branch was to achieve “three legged stool” governance – a separation of powers with checks and balances. However, the CPN legislative branch lacks real lawmaking power and critical oversight authority. Therefore, I will work with officials to give our legislature governance powers and institute true checks and balances oversight.
Elect the CPN advocate who has a genuine passion for strong government and for his people’s well-being. Together we can make a real difference, mature our government, grow our Nation and people, and not forget who we are along the way. Thank you.