After a slower pace of construction in 2015, the new year looks to be as bright as ever at Citizen Potawatomi Nation as projects large and small are set to be complete.

At FireLake Golf Course, the rehab of the back nine holes begins in January. Much of the infrastructure at FireLake – including irrigation, cart paths and the course layout – are from the original construction in the 1980s. The time has come for upgrades on the course to match the new clubhouse, which is expected to be fully operational by the spring. The new clubhouse will be home to a pro shop, grill and locker rooms. As the only public course in the community, FireLake seeks to offer the best facilities possible to its customers, regardless of their income. The upgrades will go a long way in meeting that goal.

At FireLake Arena the events will keep on coming. Starting in January we have a number of events, from concerts to boxing to pro wrestling. On Super Bowl Sunday, just a few hours before kickoff, the arena will play host to the finals of the inaugural FireLake-PBA Tournament of Champions. Some of the biggest stars in professional bowling will be on hand to cap off a week of competition taking place at FireLake Bowling Center, with the finals hosted inside the arena. In April, rock and roll legends ZZ Top will be in town, bringing “that Little ol’ Band from Texas” into Shawnee, Oklahoma’s premier entertainment venue. 

The mid-summer months is set to be a busy time as well, with two important Potawatomi events taking place in Shawnee. In the last weekend of June, CPN will host its annual Family Reunion Festival, with an expected 5,000 Citizen Potawatomi and their families expected to descend on the Tribe’s FireLake complex for three days of celebration. Just one month later, CPN will welcome its sister-Potawatomi tribes from across the U.S. and Canada as FireLake plays host to the 2016 Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations. This is an event that only comes around once a year and all Citizen Potawatomi are encouraged to attend and meet our fellow Potawatomi nations.

At the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, the amenities and entertainment are better than ever. On Feb. 20, Motown and music legend Diana Ross will take the stage at the Grand Event Center. Recently opened eateries like Soto Sushi Restaurant and Flame Brazilian Steakhouse will continue to draw fine diners, while the Grand Buffet, Grandstand Sports Grille and Grand Café provide a more relaxed atmosphere. 

To our members, employees and neighbors in McLoud, a new day is at hand as the long, tiresome drives to Walmart will no longer be required as FireLake Express Grocery opens its doors in early 2016.

Another great note is that the long planned Iron Horse Industrial Park is moving forward at a rapid pace. The agreement to put track throughout the park was signed off at the end of 2015, and by the spring of 2016, we expect to host visits from potential clients wanting to do business in Indian Country. Through the use of the HEARTH Act and the park’s designation as a foreign-trade zone satellite site, CPN expects Iron Horse to become one of the drivers of economic development and jobs in Pottawatomie County in the coming years.

In May we’ll celebrate the completion of the school year, which will be especially warranted given that it will also mark the first year of the CPN-Saint Gregory’s University scholarship program. Right now, CPN Tribal members have an opportunity to get a bachelor’s, master’s or even a PhD. from the university at no cost. Those wanting to take advantage of the program are encouraged to get in touch with CPN Higher Education Coordinator at

In all, CPN hopes to once again be a part of the tide that lifts all boats in our shared community by growing our $540 economic impact in Oklahoma from last year. Watch for further updates and be sure to follow our Tribal enterprises Facebook pages for new event announcements throughout the year.