Bozho nikanek
(Hello friends),

I hope you all had an enjoyable holiday season. I want to start with declaring my candidacy for the District 6 Legislative seat. It’s a decision I made after considerable thought and consideration.

After Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett’s successful re-election bid last year and Vice-Chairman Linda Capps decision to run again, I knew I wanted to seek re-election. In her column last month, Vice-Chairman Capps spoke about institutional memory and knowledge. I’m in agreement with Ms. Capps regarding their value to Citizen Potawatomi Nation. I believe that institutional memory is an asset to any organization as I have experienced firsthand in my professional career in both the transportation and food service industries.

Additionally, I appreciate the passion for service found throughout our Legislature. While we may not agree on every issue, I believe all are committed to advancing our nations objectives of sovereignty, the preservation and revitalization of our culture, self-governance and the advancement of our people.

I would be remiss without stating that the CPN staff is among the best I have ever worked with. Their dedication, professionalism and work ethic is infectious. I think it’s natural for a person to want to play for a winning team and ultimately that’s what drives me to run for re-election. It is very gratifying to see the positive changes impacting our people, particularly our elders and our youth.

If there is anything I could improve in our great Nation, it would be voter participation. Historically, voter involvement in our election process leaves room for improvement, to put it mildly. So, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to exercise your most valuable right as a citizen of CPN and vote this year. Thank you in advance to everyone voting in the upcoming election. I would be honored to have your vote for District 6 Representative.

As we begin a new year, I would like to share my thoughts on modern day society’s general lack of appreciation for elders. From what I have learned about our culture, elders are to be respected and valued for their wisdom and experience. Without a written language, all of what was passed from one generation to the next was passed on orally. That passing on of knowledge, life skills and wisdom was vital to our very existence. It seems that as we became “civilized” and migrated to new ways of learning, the importance of elders diminished greatly.

Maybe it has always been there, but I sure don’t remember being the center of my parents’ universe and I’m quite sure my children didn’t feel like they were the center of mine. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t treated well by my parents, and it doesn’t mean I don’t love my kids. If I’m being honest, there were times I felt underappreciated as a kid, but I get it now. I’m glad they didn’t put me on a pedestal! I’m talking about average families raising kids today. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy-duddy, but I think many of our children today are being taught that they can do no wrong; they don’t have to say please or thank you if they don’t want to. Youth is sensationalized, and old age is a curse.

What I think is most tragic is the disconnect between family members beyond kids and their parents. Time with aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents all take a back seat to social media, television, sports, work, entertainment, recreation and friends. The point I’m trying to make is that every season of life is precious and a gift. Every season has a different purpose. No season of life is more important than any other.

Know your season; embrace your season. On our medicine wheel, the circle of life, this is the season of the wise, the season of sweetgrass, the season of the northern direction. Pay extra attention to all these things and honor them in your prayers. Ask the Creator to instill in you His purpose for your season of life. Bless those around you with what He gives you, and you and all your relations will be blessed.

Wisdom from the Word: “Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5 NLT

(Thank you)!

Rande K. Payne, Mnedo Gabo
Representative, District 6
31150 Road 180
Visalia, CA 93292-9585
559-999-3525 office
559-999-5411 cell