Linda Arredondo.

As an employer of more than 2,200, Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s government and commercial enterprises require the latest quality of technological offerings across its wide array of services. Few companies in the private sector have experienced growth like CPN, meaning a small team of information technology professionals work tirelessly to keep digital systems online and secure. One CPN Tribal member, Linda Arredondo, recently joined the Nation’s IT Department as a data analyst.

Where are you originally from?

“I was born in Chanute, Kan., but I also lived in Oklahoma as a child. Recently, I relocated from Florida to be closer to my family and began working for CPN.”

What Potawatomi family are you from?

“The Young family. My tribal ID card indicates my record of descendancy includes Lizzie McDole from the 1887 Roll and Georgia Nickell from the 1937 Roll.”

Did you know growing up that you were Potawatomi tribal member?

“Yes, my mother spoke of the Tribe frequently. We maintained a subscription to the Hownikan for as long as I can remember and my mother kept every issue in her own personal archive. When possible, I found creative ways to integrate Native American themes into my schoolwork assignments. This habit would, at times, perplex my teachers. My mother enjoyed various Native American arts and crafts, including sewing and beadwork. She encouraged me to participate and share in her love of crafting.

“My mother also taught me the importance of claiming my designation as an American Indian at a very a young age. I have consistently claimed this designation on every census, registration form and survey where these demographics are captured.”

“Prior to relocating back to Oklahoma, I lived in CPN Legislative District 2, whose legislator, Eva Marie Carney, does a wonderful job coordinating events and keeping the Tribal members in the area up to speed on the happenings at CPN. She maintains a website and regularly transmits post mail, email, and even provides updates via Facebook. Over the years, I have reached out to her with questions regarding tradition and protocol. She has always gone above and beyond to provide answers to my questions. For this, I am most grateful and I would encourage all CPN Tribal Members to stay in touch with the legislator from their district.”

What was your background prior to joining CPN’s IT Department as a data analyst?

“For the past 15 years I worked for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation where for seven years I served as Florida Housing’s Chief Technology Officer. Prior to that, I served as an IT administrator and a database administrator. Before that I worked for the Florida Department of Emergency Management under Craig Fugate, who is now the director of FEMA.

“I am working toward a degree in Management Information Systems. I hope to transfer my college credits and enroll in a local college. My father graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Urban Planning. Perhaps I will follow family tradition and attend OU since I was raised a Sooner.”

What are some of your day-to-day duties?

“Our IT Director, Dennis Dyer, tasked me with developing a cohesive Information Technology Security Program that includes drafting policies, procedures and training materials. Specific projects include revamping the business continuity plan for  IT and evaluating our security posture regarding payment card industry standards. I am also working to streamline the business process for the surplus of IT hardware and software.”

What drew you to work for the Tribe?

“I dreamed of working for our Tribe for many years. I first interviewed with CPN when the Cultural Heritage Center was being constructed. Of course, life has its way of taking twists and turns. This past summer my mother became ill and this heightened my longing to make the move from Florida to Oklahoma. I had hoped to spend more time with my mother and assist with her care. I traveled to Oklahoma five times in 2014 as my mother’s health began to decline. During one of those visits I interviewed for a position within the Tribe’s IT department. Just as things were seemingly falling into place, my mother passed away. Ultimately, I find comfort in knowing that my mother would be proud that I have been given the opportunity to work for our Tribe.

“Of course, our cultural heritage continues to thrive which is quite inspiring. Many Tribal leaders, members, employees and the team at our Cultural Heritage Center have provided a warm welcome. Family, friends and the women in the regalia making class have been teaching me the art of making my own shawl. I ordered a drum kit and started learning the songs provided by the ladies drum group. I participated in my very first full moon ceremony in early March, which was a lovely experience. Language and dance are also high on my list of things explore. In addition, my husband and I have enjoyed our membership at the BDC Gun Room and I am really looking forward to the upcoming Festival in June!”