Report on our Birmingham meeting
About 50 of us met at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) in mid-March to tour the exhibits and then meet in the BCRI Community Room for a family meeting and lunch. The exhibits were challenging and thought-provoking, and the meeting and lunch were good family time.
A very youthful MaryRuth Gossett was recognized as our “wisest,” the Talty family traveled the furthest, from near Pensacola, Florida and a Talty youngster was honored as our youngest attendee. I’ve included a few photos from the day. A wide array of photos is available here: cpn.news/d2bcrm (you don’t need to be on Facebook to view them). Our lunch came from Jim ’N Nick’s Community Bar-B-Q. The barbecue and the cheese biscuits were delicious. Luckily, Jim ’N Nick’s brought take-home boxes so attendees didn’t go away without leftovers!
After the meeting, I had the honor of being recorded by BCRI archivists reading an excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” BCRI will use the recording, and many others, in a documentary it is producing. Because I’m a lawyer, BCRI asked me to read this passage:
Sometimes a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I have been arrested on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong in having an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade. But such an ordinance becomes unjust when it is used to maintain segregation and to deny citizens the First-Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and protest.
To hear audio of Dr. King reading his letter, please visit cpn.news/kingaudio. When the documentary is released, I’ll share that information with you.
Gathering of Nations details
The dates for the 2018 Gathering of Potawatomi Nations, hosted by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Mayetta, Kansas, are now confirmed and posted on PBPN’s website. They are July 30-31, Language conference; Aug. 1-2, Gathering activities; Aug. 3, Gathering activities/traditional powwow; Aug. 4, Gathering activities/traditional powwow/Hand Off Ceremony (close of Gathering).
I understand that there also will be a youth conference, but don’t have information on that yet.
All of this information is posted to the PBPN’s website, along with a fun countdown clock to Gathering. Please check there regularly for more updated information. Our host, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, put out a call for workshop teachers. There’s a form at pbpindiantribe.com/2018-potawatomi-gathering that you’ll need to complete and submit to Jackie Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 1 if you’d like to teach or co-teach workshops. I will be there starting Aug. 1 and hope to see many of you there!
Call for archives visit reservations
On Oct. 5, a group of 20 of us will tour our Potawatomi items in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Suitland, Maryland. The tour runs from 1:30 to 3:30 or 4 p.m. We will have lunch before at Sweet Dee’s Café & Catering (my treat) on the Suitland campus at 12:30 p.m. Please RSVP to me to reserve your spot!
Recent proud moment
I’m always touched when Vice-Chairman Linda Capps writes about Tribal folks who make her proud. Now, it’s my turn to brag about Margaret Zientek, a CPN tribal citizen and the assistant director of our Workforce and Social Services program.
For almost 20 years, Margaret has co-chaired the Public Law 102-477 Tribal Work Group. She, with many others, worked tirelessly for — and last year, earned passage of — Public Law 115-93. It amends the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Demonstration Act of 1992 to facilitate the ability of Indian tribes to integrate the employment, training and related services from diverse federal sources.
Margaret invited me to the February meeting at the Department of the Interior that she co-chaired, with the head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Self Governance. I observed her in action as she facilitated discussion among a large group of tribal representatives and federal government officials to consider the impact of the amendments on the 477 program and outline the next steps for implementation.
Margaret was gracious but firm in delivering the tribes’ message that implementation needs to fulfill the law’s purpose, which is to expand and strengthen the 477 program, with the tribes in the lead in determining how best to allocate federal funds to serve their tribal members. A photo was taken during the meeting, which I’ve included with this column.
Please keep in touch by phone, email or Facebook message. We have about 200 District 2 folks participating on a private Facebook page. Message me on FB if you’d like to join us. I look forward to hearing from you, to helping you, as needed, and to hearing how being a Potawatomi makes a difference in your worldview. Jagenogenon (All my relatives).
Migwetch (thank you) for the honor of representing you.