Incumbent | Mark Johnson

Headshot of Mark Johnson, District 7 incumbent

What kind of future do you envision for Citizen Potawatomi Nation?
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation will surpass 38,000 members by the middle of this year. The future that I see, is one filled with Opportunity, Hope and Optimism, but also a future with many challenges that we must navigate in the 21st century. As a current Legislator, I know that the demands for services and benefits that we are providing today as a Tribe will require our full attention in order to protect and grow those services into the future. Our Nation will continue being a leader in preserving our heritage and culture. This has been a high priority for not only myself, but the other members of our legislature. Many avenues of information are now available to our members through the Cultural Heritage Center, from language classes to finding your families allotment and searching for family records online. I will do everything I can to expand these offerings as your representative. With the growth of our Nation and enrollment of members ever increasing, we also need to maintain and grow the economic engine of our tribe into a true powerhouse through well thought-out and wise business investments. As a tribal member who lives outside of Oklahoma, I am also keenly aware that our members also don’t always have access to the same services that are available to those who live in Oklahoma, that is why the CPN Care program is such a huge benefit to those of us out here in the districts, and a perfect example of the wise capital investment choices paying off for all members and their families. I am not one who has ever been the one to jump on the hot button topics of the day, or sway to the direction the wind is blowing on any given time; I have chosen to look to those subjects that will guarantee our survival as a Nation so that we may all reach our full potential and fulfill our destiny as a tribe, and never again suffer a fate like our ancestors did. We do indeed have a bright future as a Nation, one built on the bedrock of wise, reasoned choices.

What makes you qualified to be a CPN legislator?
I have a deep understanding of who I am, and why I was placed on this earth, to work in the service of others. I have always placed others before myself and have been blessed to have had a 41-year career as a professional firefighter, retiring at the rank of Chief from CAL FIRE. I believe that having been in public service for all those years, I have the skill set needed to work with the other tribal legislators and evaluate other points of view. I also have a good working knowledge of the tribe, allowing me to navigate the system on behalf of our members when they need help. I was also raised in the culture, so my roots run very deep there. I believe that I am a very well-rounded person who can get the job done, on your behalf.

Challenger | Browning Neddeau

Headshot of Browning Neddeau, District 7 challenger

What kind of future do you envision for Citizen Potawatomi Nation?
The future of our Tribe depends on our collective effort. Together, we will keep the fire burning. I am humbled that Tribal citizens within and outside of District 7 have encouraged me to seek the legislative seat. Chi migwetch/Many thanks for being in community with me. I envision a future that centers being Potawatomi as I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors. I imagine District meetings occurring in the District as they are intended. Having mawjeshnowen/get together spaces instead of business meetings would support what it means to be Bodéwadmi ndaw/Potawatomi Indian. Enterprise provides commerce, but people come before business and we must invest in our people and build relationships. It is imperative that we stress the importance of cultural survivance and thrivance through people and stories, not products.

I envision a future that increases accessibility to programs and services for our Tribal citizens, regardless of physical location. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government provided our Tribe millions of dollars to expand programs and services. We need to assess these programs and services to ensure they support all citizens. CPN Care’s creation is a start at increasing accessibility, but it is not the end.

Accessibility includes a future where we embrace virtual, hybrid, and in-person mawjeshnowen. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I hosted six virtual storytelling events with hundreds of oral and visual storytellers and attendees participating (including Tribal citizens) from around the world. I continue to create virtual mawjeshnowen, such as Shkodé/Fire: Conversations at the Virtual Fire, virtual breakfast socials, and the Facebook group Ni Je Na Ginwa District 7 from Browning Neddeau. Email me at to join future mawjeshnowen.

Lastly, I envision our Tribe will intentionally place value on inclusion. Multiple years ago, Chairman Barrett and several legislators voted in favor of a marriage ordinance that supported all loving families. I wrote an email to all Tribal leaders requesting support for all loving families. Unfortunately, the marriage ordinance failed. Our current District 7 legislator voted against it. I envision a future where all citizens are seen, heard, and loved.

What makes you qualified to be a CPN legislator?
I invite all Tribal citizens to explore my website for details about my qualifications to serve as the District 7 legislator. My website includes examples of my sustained and heavy involvement in Indian Country which have prepared me to serve our Tribe well. Below is an abbreviated list of what makes me qualified to serve you as a CPN legislator.

*Cultural knowledge holder
*Assist with Potawatomi language and protocol
*Active in American Indian community organizing and resource sharing

*Chair of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Commission: National Art Education Association
*National Advisory Councilmember: National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education
*School Board Member: Ipakanni Early College Charter School, a school focused on serving American Indian students

Related Credentials
*Educated — Doctorate (Ed.D.)
*Published scholar in American Indian Studies
*Program evaluator and grant Director, accountable to government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education