As our new year kicks off this month, I have to wonder what happened to last year. There is so much to be thankful for and to celebrate.

We brought in a new state to our District 5, Nebraska, and had to give up Utah for the redistricting keeping an even count on the tribal membership.

You all seem to be moving around a bit.

It was an honor to participate in the Native American Women’s Conference this year here in November, as always. It is a time when the native women gather to hear stories, show their crafts, and support each other in professional growth.

It was exciting to finally be gifted two eagle wings and learn how to preserve them.

I realized there were 12 articles written for the paper. Not being a writer or particularly imaginative, it becomes quite a challenge after 18 years in service. What can I write about this month? Sometimes you draw a blank or think “I wrote about that already.” Hopefully, I haven’t bored you all to tears.

Then we come to this year’s District 5 meetings — Colorado, parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nebraska. Great meetings! It is like coming home to see each of you every year.

I love to hear about your families and all the achievements year-to-year. The sharing of your family history with CPN of the hurtful experiences some have had to bear along the way brought tears to my eyes. It has also been inspiring on the other side to know how dedicated, determined and committed each of you are to your people.

It is amazing to see three and four generations in attendance. I watch in amazement of the bond you share from great-grandmother all the way to great-granddaughter. I do not believe I have seen five as of yet but won’t be surprised when I do.

Things don’t always go the way you plan, and I am aware you have other obligations when you cannot attend. Please know how missed you are when you don’t. You are an important piece of the woven blanket.

When you can, please do attend and bring the whole family.

The main themes last year in my travels were education and language. Both are important for every individual, family and the betterment of Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Herein lies our history and future. Have any of you yet tried the language puppets with your children?

We are so blessed to have continued leadership with vision and purpose. Other tribal leadership can change every four to eight years, in so doing redirecting the vision of the last and manifesting no future at all. Let’s thank everyone who has contributed to the success of Citizen Potawatomi Nation for their day-to-day contributions.

As they say, “It takes a village,” and “No man stands alone,” are appropriately stated.

In the years and months gone by, I have learned so much from each of you. I appreciate all you share.

You have trusted me with your concerns and the highlights of your lives. I truly feel like a part of your family, and you are definitely part of mine. When I look back, I realize you have become a major part of my life. Thank you!

Looking back over 2017 with gratitude, thank the Creator for all your blessings.

Now that 2018 is in front of us, how can we be better human beings than last year and master the challenges that are presented?

Find one New Year’s resolution and stick with it!

Love and prayers to you all.
Eunice Imogene Lambert
Representative, District 5