Tribal Chairman – John “Rocky” Barrett
I am writing this column as we conclude a lot of our summer events and prepare for the annual Gathering and our Balloon Festival. We welcomed about 3,500 Potawatomi and their families to our headquarters at the end of June and we hosted our first in-person Potawatomi Leadership Program since 2019.
The PLP began under the direction of Vice-Chairman Capps almost 20 years ago. Since then, we’ve had almost 200 young Potawatomi participate. We believe that this program is of vital importance to our future as a Nation. While hiring is getting harder, we can typically find the people we need to manage the day-to-day at the Nation; we cannot hire just anyone to run the government. I believe that we need Potawatomi from all over to be engaged with the Tribe, one of the many reasons I helped push our constitutional reform to allow for our current legislative setup. Regardless of where you live, you have a representative to reach out to. I encourage you to get to know them and attend meetings in your area.
We have also begun the budget process. Our budget runs on a fiscal year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. Each year, the directors are asked to submit budgets for review. Once the directors have submitted those, the budget committee meets to evaluate the needs and goals of the Nation. Our budget committee was established by Rhonda Butcher/Office of Self-Governance in 1999. Its purpose was to provide an effective and responsible process for budgeting all Citizen Potawatomi Nation special revenue funds in a manner that responds to the needs of the Potawatomi people through establishment of Tribal goals and priorities, and establishing a mechanism to control the use and expenditure of such funds. Sometimes directors are expected to come to budget meetings if further explanation is needed.
Once the budget committee reviews the budgets, the comprehensive budget is prepared for the Tribal Legislature to review and approve. Our budget, and therefore our impact, has grown tremendously since I took office. This year our economic impact exceeded $700 million.
I believe it is important to have these procedures in place — and created specifically for our Tribal government. We are only as sovereign as we act, which means having our own constitution, elected government and a thorough budgeting process. All these things, and your participation in the Tribe by attending meetings, voting in elections and learning your history and culture, help to protect our Tribal sovereignty and prepare our Tribe for future generations.
Thank you for the privilege of serving as your Tribal Chairman.
John “Rocky” Barrett
(He Leads Them Home)
Vice-Chairman – Linda Capps
I want to thank our Tribal members who braved the 100-degree weather and endured the expense of the outrageous cost of fuel (on land or in the air) to travel to Shawnee for our Annual Family Festival of 2022. Despite the heat and the expense, we still had an outstanding attendance of over 3,350 Tribal members and their families in attendance. It was so good to see everyone.
I commend CPN employees for the work they did during this year’s Family Festival. I think of their work as preparing, performing and cleaning up, which involves tremendous effort on their part. They exhibited that same expertise in conducting this year’s Festival, as they have in the past. CPN tribal members and their families, along with CPN employees, are responsible for the magical environment that is created during the weekend. The Balloon Festival is right around the corner, August 12 and 13. Once again, our employees will work hard to host another great event; only, this time there will be thousands of people from all over Oklahoma and other states, as well. I applaud the astonishing efforts of our employees. Please don’t forget that many of our employees are also CPN members.
First National Bank
First National Bank & Trust of Shawnee is the largest tribally owned national bank in the United States. In July 2021, FNB completed an acquisition of the First State Bank of Oklahoma City. The bank now has over 10 locations throughout Oklahoma. The progress that the bank has made since the acquisition is
amazing. The loans that are made each month (and sometimes each week) are impressive. As we are making the many new loans, it is a reminder to the those of us that are on the board of directors that this acquisition was, indeed, the right decision to make. We have grown from a $14 million bank in 1989 to over a $700 million bank today. I have no doubt that we will be a billion-dollar bank in a few short months. We owe a good deal of our success to the FNB President Bryan Cain, the tremendous leadership of Chairman John Barrett, and to the financial expertise of Secretary-Treasurer D. Wayne Trousdale. It is exciting to see the growth of FNB, and we can be sure that impressive developments are in store for the bank and CPN as the owner.
Community Development Corporation
Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC) is valuable to CPN in many ways.
The program makes business loans to CPN and other tribal members. They can participate in loans with FNB when needed, and they provide greatly appreciated service to CPN employees. Since the employee loan program began, CPCDC has made $9.7 million in loans and provided 37,878 financial education and business development technical assistance hours (audited financials for 2021). Their leadership is superb with Cindy Logsdon serving as CEO and Bob Crothers serving as Chief Operating Officer & Chief Loan Officer. Cindy also has several Tribal members working for her that do an outstanding job. Felecia Freeman is the CPN member with the longest tenure for CPCDC.
Why do I mention the above financial entities? It is because both help CPN to grow. Each financial institution can help our employees obtain financial goals. Both have programs for our employees and programs for the Tribe itself. The Tribe and the bank can work together to increase the assets of CPN and the bank. The leadership of both the bank and the CPCDC makes the Tribe proud. They are leaders that win awards and are active in their area of expertise. Plus, they are leaders that can be depended upon to make the right decisions for their entity. Both entities have helped many of our Tribal members.
I want to bring this message to you, not only to give you information about the two programs, but also inform you on what great assets the Tribe has with their financial leadership.
Thank you for allowing me to be your Vice-Chairman. You will find an ad in this edition of the Hownikan thanking you for your support.
(Black Bird Woman)