The Citizen Potawatomi Nation welcomes seven students pursuing higher education to the Tribal grounds for six weeks for the Potawatomi Leadership Program. During June and July, they will explore their Potawatomi identities, meet with Tribal leaders, attend sessions with various services and enterprises, and meet Tribal employees and family members during the Family Reunion Festival. 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the program, and this year’s class represents CPN members from across the country — from California to New York, Pennsylvania to Texas.
Amity Tarter | Tarter family descendant from Berkeley, California
Education: Sophomore at Berkeley City College
Fun facts: Enjoys music/theater, hiking, art, cooking/baking, fashion and reading
Good leadership: “Those who lead need to be able to continue to find inspiration and growth throughout the process. While leadership can be seen as a teaching process from one person passing along information to another, it can also involve lots of reciprocal insight.”
PLP goals: Strengthening her connection with her Potawatomi heritage, better understanding Native culture and having a great experience in the program like her older brother.
Ike Decker | Ogee family descendant from Topeka, Kansas
Education: Natural science/nursing freshman at Haskell Indian Nations University
Fun facts: Plays guitar, piano, bass and video games
Good leadership: “A leader is one individual who goes above and beyond the average individual’s duty. Who in the heat of the moment is willing to take charge and commit themselves even if they are unsure or uncomfortable with their commitment.”
PLP goals: Learning the ins and outs of Tribal government as well as the Tribe’s cultural connection to fire and attending Family Reunion Festival.
Justice Wolfe | Curley family descendant from Jones, Oklahoma
Education: Marketing freshman at the University of Central Oklahoma
Fun facts: Previously wrestled, practiced MMA and trained in Brazilian jiu jitsu
Good leadership: “Open minded, empathetic, and smart. … Leaders are individuals that leave a legacy for others, always do the right thing, show humility, and find ways around difficult situations.”
PLP goals: Better understand the past and present functions and Tribal government and hierarchical structure as well as meeting other Tribal members.
Roslyn Bellscheidt | Kennedy family descendant from Vashon Island, Washington
Education: Neuroscience freshman at Duke University
Fun facts: Trained in classical ballet, a member of Duke Women’s Rowing, enjoys sewing and designing clothes, and knows elementary sign language.
Good leadership: “A leader encourages those around them to cultivate leadership within themselves. They provide an environment where their peers can thrive, be empathetic, and serve others.”
PLP goals: Making a deeper connection with her heritage and find new ways to give back to the Tribal community as well as learning the history and cultural meaning behind the Tribal seal.
Grey Doster | Johnson family descendant from Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Education: Environmental studies freshman at the University of Pittsburgh
Fun facts: Trained ballet dancer, enjoys making jewelry, avid hiker and interns as an environmental educator
Good leadership: “Leaders listen to their people, understand concerns, and push towards a common goal. This requires dedication and time commitment to champion the cause, direct work that must be done, and effectively utilizing assets at your disposal.”
PLP goals: Learning cultural art forms and the Potawatomi language to be able to take them wherever they go as well as ancestral research.
Tate Lewis | Barnett family descendant from Paris, Texas
Education: Business administration sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas
Fun facts: Expert golfer, travel enthusiast and won the 2020 Dr. Pepper College Tuition Giveaway
Good leadership: “Leaders understand that pressure will be put on them to succeed and are willing to take the challenge head on. They are often soft spoken and calm in high pressure situations. But one of the most important aspects of a leader is someone who is unafraid of adversity.”
PLP goals: Following in the footsteps of his two older siblings who participated in the program, as well as meeting and helping elders, learning to bead moccasins and play hand games, and meeting new friends.