District 1 candidates

Drew (Jon) Boursaw

What would make you an effective Tribal leader?

I have many years of leadership experience. During these years I found that the key to being a successful leader is communication. An effective Tribal leader listens and communicates with every Tribal member in their region. Tribal members need to know that I will listen and support them.

How do you plan to engage Tribal citizens?

This falls in line with the importance of communication. I will use every form of communication possible to reach every Tribal member in Region One: social media, email, phone calls, etc… I also plan to create virtual regional meetings. With COVID and 2020, this form of meeting has become commonplace. These virtual meetings will take the place of in-person meetings until the pandemic is over.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing Tribal issue currently?

I believe the most pressing issue is not only maintaining the existing Tribal benefits but expanding them. These benefits are valuable to the lives of every Tribal member. I believe it would be in the best interest of all to work on expanding these benefits.

David Slavin – Gzhiptot (He’s Fast)

What would make you an effective Tribal leader?

When I completed the questionnaire for my naming ceremony, I talked to my dad about question 17.

The question asked, to put these four words: wisdom, compassion, courage and generosity, in order of importance. I stated to my dad that this would be hard to do as they are all important in your personal and professional life. I believe now, as I did then, if I use these four attributes as a guide and good communication. It will help me in being a good effective Tribal leader.

How would you plan to engage Tribal citizens?

The pandemic has created a challenge for all of us. In the past there where meetings to meet with the candidates running for office. I will use the How Ni Kan, Potawatomi Web site, and all other forms of communication that are available to communicate with as many Tribal members in District 1 as possible.

I would encourage tribal members to research their family history by talking to their elders. Encourage members to use the online classes to learn the language and to visit the culture center when in Shawnee. Plan vacation time during festival, the last weekend in June if possible. And to offer my assistance when ever it is needed.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing Tribal issue currently?

The health and safety of the work force and the financial security of the Nation. A stabilized work force allows the nation to provide tribal members not only the services they now have. But to provide additional services as they become available. Such as the Cares Act that provided assistance to many Tribal members.

Kevin Roberts – Kakingeshi (Grizzly Bear)

What would make you an effective Tribal leader?

I recently retired from an executive leadership position with a fortune 50 organization – State Farm Insurance Company.During my 36 year career, I held various management, and executive leadership positions. Our organization had an employee base of 150K, and 19K Agents. Within several department operations, I was responsible for decentralized staff across the USA & Canada, including at our Corporate Headquarters. I lead virtual teams across Human Resources, Claims & Catastrophe Operations, Agency/Marketing, Enterprise Technology, and the Administrative Services department. Staying connected with my decentralized staff was critical. I leveraged in-person contact in addition to unified communication tools available at the time. I was consistently recognized by senior leadership, my staff, and my peers for being exceptional at forging strong, sustaining relationships, organizing, and motivating others. My teams were outstanding and that was reflected in their achievements. The part I most appreciated centered on the people. The relationships forged, and helping them succeed both individually and as a team were very gratifying. I believe my experiences will serve me well in the CPN legislative role.

How do you plan to engage Tribal citizens?

Based on my experiences with leading decentralized, virtual teams, reciprocated engagement is dependent upon others desire, motivation and willingness to engage. I plan to provide the opportunities, and motivation for engagement within my respective legislative district. I will do that by offering in-person, geographical area meeting forums during each calendar year, supplemented with access via social media platforms, email, text, and phone access.

My engagement objective is focused on connecting the tribal community within our district, and ultimately the district to the broader CPN Nation. Key areas being focused upon include culture, language, educational opportunities, and informational awareness & assistance relating to services, and benefits available.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing Tribal issue currently? 

Based on my experiences during the past 30 years, I believe the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has made significant progress on many fronts. I would not be running as a candidate had it not been for the 2008 decision to allow for elected legislative representatives.

For 2021, in my opinion there are 2 critical issues facing our tribal nation. 

1.) Covid-19 pandemic Getting the pandemic behind us via ongoing, practiced mitigation measures along with vaccinations for all that can receive one. This ultimately could have an impact on our June Family Gathering.

2.) June Election It is important that everyone eligible to vote, votes in the June election. Keep informed on the issues associated with this years election. I pray for community spirit, strength & progress as the CPN moves forward. Henry Ford once said …..”Coming together is a beginning, Keeping together is progress, Working together is success”

Alan Melot

What would make you an effective Tribal leader?

I respect others, have integrity, am passionate and committed, and have a vision for a strong Nation. One of my strengths is to recognize the skills and talents of others, and to facilitate their growth and development. I am a coordinator who can unify a diverse group for the benefit of everyone. Finally, I see myself as a legislative leader rather than a cultural leader, and will use every opportunity as a legislator to strengthen our cultural leaders and work to create opportunities for our Elders to pass wisdom to younger generations.

How do you plan to engage Tribal citizens?

This is a complicated question in the COVID-19 era. As a mental health therapist, I am a frontline worker and have been vaccinated so I consider myself safe to freely interact with others. I recognize that our citizens have a wide variety of responses to the pandemic, though, and want to be sensitive to other’s choices and beliefs. In that light, I want to travel throughout the district and engage in person whenever possible, preferably with monthly trips to different meeting places. When that is not possible, I will connect via Zoom, Facebook, email or telephone. Some of our District 1 citizens are already getting together via Zoom, with different folks taking the lead to make connections and share resources. This type of grassroots activity should be generously and vigorously supported! I will take every opportunity to support these Potawatomi who are not passive and will work to use tribal resources in places like this where people are hungry for Potawatomi connection and tribal support.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing Tribal issue currently?

Tribal sovereignty has always been and will always be our most pressing issue. We must have effective self-governance and a strong Potawatomi identity. Cultural knowledge is the foundation of tribal identity. Citizen Potawatomi need to know our language, our wisdom and our ways to be able to justify our existence as a nation. Our language department has worked hard to preserve and teach the language, and I believe that we should spare no efforts to support their work. Further, I believe that we need people in each district who can connect personally and teach Potawatomi language and culture. We need to expand our language department to have individuals in each district who are tribal employees with the task of helping more people learn our language, culture and unique Potawatomi identity. As we establish districts that are populated with engaged, caring, knowledgeable and wise Potawatomi, we will ensure that we have a tribe worth fighting for. An effective government rests on that foundation of Potawatomi citizens. Chairman Barrett and his administration has worked hard for legal and economic sovereignty, and that strength should not be taken for granted. Future leaders will do well to emulate his passion for our people and continue to fight legal battles as necessary, plan wisely for financial success, and govern in the best interest of the people. I ask for your vote and for your prayers, so I can be part of that effective government.