During this episode, we’ll hear from a marathon runner who donated to a Tribal scholarship fund, celebrate 20 years of the Potawatomi Leadership Program, and look at one-way CPN is making an opioid overdose reversal tactic more available.

Braiding Sweetgrass inspires Griffin to run marathon, benefit MJK scholarship

What inspired Vanessa Griffin to run her first marathon at 50 years old and raise money for a Citizen Potawatomi Nation scholarship? In part, it was the bestselling book Braiding Sweetgrass, written by CPN tribal member Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Hownikan reporter Tina Bridenstine talked with Griffin about her experience learning about anti-racism tactics and working with the CPN Department of Education to contribute to Tribal members’ education.

At 50 years old, Lake Zurich, Illinois, resident Vanessa Griffin ran her first marathon to benefit CPN’s Michael John Kennedy Scholarship.

“I had a very, I’ll call it a ‘white lady’ idea, which is I’d like to create a scholarship. I came to (the CPN Department of Education) with this grandiose proposition of a new scholarship, and they very gently, very calmly said, ‘That’s a great idea. We love that idea. Thank you. But what would really help us is if you donated to this other scholarship that’s already established and exists,’” Griffin said.

To learn more about the Department of Education or the MJK Scholarship, visit cpn.news/education or portal.potawatomi.org. Visit their Facebook page here.

Potawatomi Leadership Program celebrates 20 years

In June 2003 – 20 years ago – Citizen Potawatomi Nation welcomed the first group of students to participate in the Potawatomi Leadership Program. Brittany Destree Dek was 17 years old that summer and participated in the PLP between her junior and senior years of high school. The Bertrand family descendant traveled from Illinois to CPN land near Shawnee, Oklahoma, and stayed for six weeks.

A slightly grainy photo from 2003 of eight students gathered outside CPN Tribal Headquarters during the first year of the Potawatomi Leadership Program.
PLP class of 2003

“It was like my first view at independent life as well as working for the Tribe and just kind of like an awakening into all of these things that I didn’t really know about myself as a Tribal member and just as an adult human,” she said.

Harvard’s Honoring Nations program recognized the Potawatomi Leadership Program in October 2014 at the National Congress of the American Indian Annual Convention for its focus on the future of Indian Country. The PLP updates its curriculum each year to improve and offer a new experience to each class.

Find out more about the Potawatomi Leadership Program at plp.potawatomi.org.

Fighting opioid overdose: CPN adds NARCAN to AED cabinets

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States experienced 92,000 overdose deaths in 2020, three-quarters of them involving opioids.

This spring, Citizen Potawatomi Nation added NARCAN to all 98 AED cabinets at Tribal enterprises and offices to help reduce that number. The cabinets include written and voice instructions for how to administer NARCAN. Chad Stieben is the Tribe’s CPR and First Aid instructor. He held classes in March to teach employees how to use NARCAN, and 175 attended.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services now offers NARCAN at all AED cabinets across Tribal offices and enterprises.

“What is NARCAN? What is naloxone? Many of us kind of have an idea. We kind of know, and it is an opioid antidote and attaches to your opioid receptors in your brain, and it will knock the opioid off and cover it with the NARCAN. That’s kind of the principle of what NARCAN is doing. During an opioid overdose, the common thing is that breathing is going to be repressed,” he told the students.

In the future, Stieben plans to add NARCAN information to the CPR classes. For more information about NARCAN, visit cdc.gov/stopoverdose/naloxone.

Hownikan Podcast is produced and distributed by Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Public Information Department. Subscribe to Hownikan Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and wherever you find your favorite shows. Find digital editions of the Tribal newspaper here.