John “Rocky” Barrett
Tribal Chairman

Headshot of CPN Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett

Bouzho, Nicon, (Hello, my friend),

Over the years many of you have heard my opinion on the despicable policy of the Bureau of Indian Affairs issuing “Degrees of Indian Blood.” It has nothing to do with being an Indian. It was designed to assure the eventuality of the disappearance of Indian tribes. It is a demeaning, shameful and, I believe, unconstitutional regulatory interference in the sovereign affairs of Indian nations. It has split tribes and families up. In too many ways, it is all about “Who Gets The Money.”

No other people in the United States are asked to carry around a pedigree like a dog or a horse. What would be the reaction of other races of people if asked: “You don’t look Negroid, how much Black blood do you have?”, “How much Jew are you?”, “What is your degree of Hispanic blood?”, “Are you a full-blood Chinese?” It is rude, offensive behavior that most Citizen Potawatomi have dealt with all their lives. Here is why it is so wrong:

Being an American Indian in the United States has nothing to do with blood degree. You are an Indian in two ways — legally and traditionally. Legally, you are an American Indian if a federally recognized tribe issues you a certificate of citizenship (your card). In the top 10 largest tribes in America, nine use descendancy as the enrollment criteria, including the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. If you are of the blood of our founding families, you are eligible to be a Citizen Potawatomi. Traditionally, you are a member of the Tribe if you belong to the 41 families that have shared a common blood, history, language, art, culture, territory and government since 1861. Notice that neither of these descriptions mentions, “blood degree.”

Your Potawatomi great-great-grandfather who suffered on the forced march Trail of Death in 1838 who had a French father and a Potawatomi mother suffered just as much as the Potawatomi who had both parents of Potawatomi blood. The mixed blood Potawatomi members of your family who lost their land and homes in Kansas and moved to an Oklahoma wilderness suffered just as much, and lost just as much, as those whom the government called “full-bloods.” In fact, mixed blood Potawatomi were often treated badly by both the white people and the other Indians — they probably suffered even more.

Your enrollment card does not grant you a fraction of a tribal membership. You are a 100% member of your tribe. You are the same amount as someone who is trying to say “I’m better than you because I’m more Indian than you.” Your family paid in blood, sweat, tears, farms, businesses, horses and cattle — some even with their lives, for your right to be a Citizen Potawatomi. No one can take that away from you.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs generated Citizen Potawatomi blood degree “rolls” are now, and have been for over 140 years, criminally incorrect. They are full of fraudulent history. The first Citizen Potawatomi Tribal Roll was made in 1861. A bureaucrat set up in a cabin near the reservation in Kansas. Each member of the “Citizen Band” had to come in that summer. As they came through the door, he assigned them a blood degree based on appearance. If you worked outside that summer and had a tan, and your parents did not, you got more “Indian blood” than your parents. For 50 years our tribe was told that you would be subject to the control of the government if you were above ½ blood degree. The BIA Agency Superintendent could declare you “incompetent to conduct your own affairs.” Our people were forced by circumstances to deny their blood.

When I took office in 1971, there were over 3,000 blood degree appeals in the BIA Washington Central Office. This number grew until 1985, when I was present at a meeting in which the most absurd thing since 1861 was forced on us. The head of the BIA’s “Tribal Operations” Department in Washington decided that the solution to all the Citizen Potawatomi blood degree appeals was to be solved this way: Any relative on any document in your family history with a “white” name was no more than ½ Potawatomi. Can you believe it!! After a century of Christian missionaries baptizing Citizen Potawatomi as quickly as they found them, and giving them European names in the process, the effect was a wholesale unjustified reduction of official BIA blood degrees. In the old days, if you dealt with the white man, you used your white name. If you dealt with your people, you used your Indian name. Most likely, having a white name had nothing to do with your family history from 1800 to 1860, just where you went to church.

“Blood degree” was set up for the Citizen Potawatomi here in Oklahoma to divide up the money from the 1948 Indian Claims Commission settlements. It decided if you got your “Indian money” check. Because so many blood degrees were wrong, we did away with it in 1989 in our new Constitution.

The real purpose of the “blood degree” invention by the U.S. Government was to set an arbitrary standard that would ultimately let them end their treaty obligations. All tribes have an inherent right to define their membership. It is the ultimate act of self-governance.

Anyone who says that they should get more from our Tribe because of their “blood degree” is denying our history. Anyone who says they are better or more deserving because of their “blood degree” is wrong.

For any of you who might be hesitant to apply for the help you need because of this kind of nonsense being talked around, please let us hear from you. If you are enrolled, you are deserving of everything we offer to any other Tribal member! You are a 100% member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

“Blood degree” is not the policy of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation — and never will be if I have anything to say about it. Thank you for the honor of serving as your Tribal Chairman.

Megwetch (Thank you),

John “Rocky” Barrett | Geweoge (He Leads Them Home) | Tribal Chairman

Linda Capps

Headshot of CPN Tribal Vice-Chairman Linda Capps.

Bozho (Hello),

Tribes enrich Oklahoma culture, boost tourism

Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) is committed to creating a thriving community for our members and for our neighbors.

The Shawnee area is home to our Tribe, where the community knows we establish jobs and economic opportunity through a variety of enterprises, including gaming and manufacturing, as well as vital public services like housing, banking and infrastructure.
However, CPN’s obligations go far beyond roads and buildings. The Tribe plays a key role in providing events and amenities that make Pottawatomie County a great place to live and raise a family.

The FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest, which returned Aug. 11-12, 2023, is an award-winning hot air balloon festival that has been drawing crowds to the state since 2017. Last year, more than 50,000 people attended, making it the largest balloon festival in Oklahoma.

Besides balloons glows and hot air balloon flights, the festival also attracts families and individuals with free concerts and interactive events, including a 5k run, petting zoo, vendor market and outdoor expo. This versatility ensures there’s something for everyone, especially as the event continues to grow each year.

These special events and other attractions — like the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, or the Potawatomi Fire, the only tribal-owned professional basketball team — bring thousands of people together each year and keep them engaged.

When people have reasons to come together, they take pride in their community. They get to know their neighbors. They think of ways to work together and move past the divisions that cause conflict and strife.

The heart of CPN’s mission is, of course, providing for our members and protecting our Tribe’s rights as a sovereign nation.

But what we continue to see is how CPN’s growth and success benefit all Oklahomans — not just our Tribal members. We are proud to be Potawatomi, and we are proud to be Oklahomans. It’s why we open our doors to our neighbors, host free events for the community and encourage people to learn about the state’s rich tribal history.

Together, let’s celebrate the vibrant Indigenous cultures that make up Oklahoma, building a stronger state and fostering healthier communities in the process.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Linda Capps | Segenakwe (Black Bird Woman) | Vice-Chairman | Work: 405-275-3121 | Cell: 405-650-1238 |

Alan Melot
District 1

Headshot of CPN District 1 Legislator Alan Melot.

Hey y’all!

Autumn is here! I love the changing seasons and hope you enjoy them as well.

I recently transitioned to a new job as a school-based therapist. I changed jobs for a couple of reasons, and being able to serve you better was at the top of the list. I will be working on a school schedule now, meaning I will have summers free! I plan to spend this time engaged with events like Potawatomi Gathering and district meetings.

How many of you have been to Gathering? This year was my first time attending. I was only there for a few days, mainly for the language conference. I am not a speaker, but it’s critical to our sovereignty that our people know our language; our language is the primary carrier of cultural knowledge and establishes a Potawatomi worldview. Without it, our argument for remaining a federally recognized, sovereign Nation is deeply undermined. I strongly encourage you to use as much Potawatomi as you can and to learn more. We have a strong language department, and Justin Neely makes himself available to anyone who wants to learn. There are many resources closer if you live in the north-central parts of D1. I’d encourage you to make those connections. Our language community is small but vibrant!

While at Gathering, I joined D2 Legislator Eva Carney to compete in a Chopped-style cooking competition. We prepared an appetizer and an entree before we were eliminated. I thoroughly enjoyed partnering with Eva and was glad to get to know her better. She has a fabulous sense of humor and performs better under pressure than I do. Check out my official page on Facebook for the full story and pictures.

There are so many people who are doing good work, both in our district and beyond. As a relative newcomer to traditions and communities, I have only felt welcomed. Sharon Hoogstraten, author of Dancing for Our Tribe, gave a presentation at our Family Reunion Festival. She shared how she was a relative newcomer when she began to photograph Potawatomi in regalia. Sharon learned during her journey that she started when she was middle-aged. What a great thing! If you don’t already have a lot of Potawatomi connections, no problem; that is all available no matter your age. Your community is waiting for you to take your place among us.

Sharon said what we do is not a reenactment but a continuation of living tradition. As an example of that, I asked Laura Hewuse to bead a hat for me and was honored when she agreed and produced a beautiful work of art. You’ll see me in it next time you see me! Chi migwetch (thank you very much), Laura!

Close-up of the brim of a hat decorated with intricate beadwork.
Magnificent bead and leather work by Laura Hewuse that I’m honored to wear.

Last fall, Melot and Melott went to Canada to go hunting on our ancestral lands. They chartered a small plane to take them into the backcountry to hunt moose. After a week, they managed to bag six! As they were loading the plane to return home, the pilot said the plane could only take four moose. Melot and Melott objected strongly: “Last year we shot six. The pilot let us take them all and he had the same plane.” Reluctantly, the pilot gave in. The plane took off with all six. While attempting to cross mountains, it could not handle the load and crashed. Only Melot and Melott survived. Surrounded by moose bodies and wreckage, Melott asked Melot, “Any idea where we are?” Melot replied, “I think we’re pretty close to where we crashed last year.”

Bama pi miné gwi wabmen (Later on I will see you again),

Alan Melot | Legislator, District 1 | | 608 S. Sergeant | Joplin, MO 64801 | 417-312-3307

Eva Marie Carney
District 2

Headshot of CPN District 2 Legislator Eva Marie Carney.

Bozho, nikanek (Hello, friends),

Ceremony during the Potawatomi Gathering

It wasn’t until Aug. 11, 1978, that the U.S. Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. That was when the national ban was lifted on practicing traditional ceremonies, accessing sacred sites, and using sacred objects and materials. I was able to attend morning ceremonies during the Potawatomi Gathering hosted by the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and am thankful to Beendigaygizhig Deleary for guiding us, and to his young son for keeping the fire.

Bodéwadmi Confederation of Tribal Nations

During the Gathering, the Bodéwadmi Nations (currently, 11 in total) established, by majority vote of the Nations present during the Tribal Leaders meeting, Articles of Confederation to “promote unity, cooperation, and mutual support among [the diverse network of Potawatomi tribal nations], and to advance the interest and well-being of its citizens and Indigenous peoples.” The Citizen Potawatomi Nation legislators attending (including me) abstained from voting as we did not have a quorum of Legislators present to deliberate and vote. The Forest County Potawatomi Community also abstained for lack of a quorum, and two other nations (Chippewas of Kettle & Stony Point First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash, Cape Croker) were marked “absent,” as no representatives attended the Tribal Leaders meeting.

I want to see our Nation add its “yes” vote to the total, and therefore have proposed a resolution to support the Articles. I have asked that it be considered at our next Legislative meeting. I will report on the outcome in a future column.

Dreamcatcher teachings

I was able to spend some Gathering time with friend and Wasauksing First Nation elder Lila Tabobondung. Lila is an accomplished artisan and a water protector. This year Lila agreed to teach a group of us to make dreamcatchers. A photo of the participants (minus Lila, CPN D3 Legislator Bob Whistler, and me, not shown in the photo) holding their dreamcatchers is included. I will be sharing Lila’s teachings at District 2 Fall Feast – details of which are below!

A group of seven people hold up handmade dreamcatchers.
Dreamcatcher Artists, Potawatomi Gathering 2023

Potawatomi Chopped

Another Gathering highlight was competing, with CPN D1 Legislator Alan Melot, in Potawatomi Chopped. The competition featured four teams of elected Tribal leaders; the challenge was to make an appetizer, entrée, and dessert under time constraints, with surprise ingredients, under bright stage lights and to the cheers of an enthusiastic audience of fellow Potawatomi. Alan and I were a great team yet were “chopped” after the entrée round. We look forward to the rematch next year when the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians host (Pokagon’s Tribal Council chair and vice chair took home the trophy).

Eva Marie Carney and Alan Melot stand behind a display table wearing yellow aprons.
Potawatomi Chopped CPN Team with NBHP’s Nickole Keith

Here’s what we had to work with: appetizer round (20 minutes) — smoked turkey leg, 1 bag sweet potato fries, 1/2 lb. mixed mushrooms and 1/2 cup dried sumac; entrée round (30 minutes) — 2 rabbit thighs, 1 bottle maple flavored root beer and 1 lb. all-purpose flour. Check out Alan’s and my Facebook pages for photos of what we made. Migwetch (thank you) to Nickole L. Keith, leader of NHBP’s food sovereignty program, for her leadership of the event, and to CPN D2’s Jody Gzhadawsot Mattena. Jody worked hard supporting Nickole and helped emcee the event.

Fall Feast. Please plan to attend the District 2 Fall Feast on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia. We will meet in the social hall, Little Falls Presbyterian Church at 10:30 a.m. All details are at under calendar. RSVPs are already being accepted — I hope you and your families can join us to make dreamcatchers under Bob and Karen Richey’s direction, share a meal, and visit and learn from each other!

I appreciate the honor of representing you.

Kind regards and bama pi (until later),

Eva Marie Carney | Ojindiskwe (Bluebird woman) | | | | 5877 Washington Blvd. PO Box 5591 | Arlington, VA 22205 | Toll Free: 866-961-6988

Bob Whistler
District 3

Headshot of CPN District 3 Legislator Bob Whistler.

Bozho Ginwa (hello everyone),

As I mentioned last month, I will give you a bit of news on this year’s Potawatomi Gathering held in Michigan and hosted by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi July 24 through 29.


I spent the first two of my seven days attending the language meetings. There were a number of methods that were new to me that were very interesting. At one session the presentation was made three times. You were given a packet of cards and needed to group the ones that appeared similar together. Then a verbal presentation was made in Potawatomi. If you really understood Potawatomi, you would lay out four of the cards on a paper, creating a story board. The presentation was made a second time with the presenter making some gestures like charades, but they were minimal. Then the story was told a third time and several members of the teaching team joined in with the pantomime gestures. I was fortunate in figuring out what the three stories were, but it took me until we got to the third reading in three of the four stories.

Grand Entry

Grand Entry was planned to be held on both Friday and Saturday. It began raining mid-day on Friday, so Grand Entry was moved from the reservation grounds back to the FireKeepers Casino Hotel to their indoor facility with arena-type folding seats on one end. Both Friday and Saturday Grand Entries went very well. The Gathering will be hosted by the Pokagon Band next year.

Crafts and Workshops

I attended a medicine bag workshop where I made a small medicine bag that the instructors advised had been designed by our ancestors. The way that it is made, it is difficult for anyone to open very easily. It has four ties that come up through the flap that folds over the front from the back and those four ties are anchored together after the bag is basically finished. It was a little tricky at first when looking at the laid-out leather, but did come together and I was happy that I decided to make this item.

I was able to see our Tribal member Rhian Campbell and her daughter Susan Campbell creating a hair pipe necklace. I have included a photo of the two of them making the item.

Two people with short grey and white hair sit at a table making hairpipe necklaces.
Rhian and Susan Campbell

Cradle Board Presentation

A Pokagon member living in Arizona made a beautiful presentation giving the history, use and importance of cradle boards. He held several presentations for groups of about 20 and each of those left with a cradle board and blanket. Dr. Casey Church cited the fact that a child raised using the cradle board will tend to be more respectful and reserved. At the presentation I attended, he also showed how a simple traditional baby hammock can be constructed between two trees using two ropes and a blanket. I took a photo of this. The two females on each end represent the tree. Standing left to right are the photographer, Dr. Church, Kelli Jackson (Hannahville Nation), Alyshia Wootan (CPN), Marianne Almero holding the doll baby (CPN), and Nichole R. Cole (NHBP). To construct the hammock, you drape the blanket from the bottom of each side over the top of the ropes, allowing for enough of the blanket inside ends to fit under the baby when in the hammock. The baby’s weight will keep the hammock taut. One of the reasons I really enjoy the Gathering is that there is usually one or more presentations that are very new to me and great to be learned.

Several pairs of participants hold traditional hammocks between them.
Traditional hammock

As your elected representative for District 3, I am very honored and Igwien (thank you deeply).

Nagech (Later),

Bob Whistler | Bmashi (He Soars) | | | 1516 Wimberly Ct. | Bedford, TX 76021 | 817-229-6271 |

Jon Boursaw
District 4

Headshot of CPN District 4 Legislator Jon Boursaw.

Bozho (Hello),

Potawatomi Trail of Death Pilgrimage Event

Saturday, September 23 | 9-10:30 a.m.
Heritage Park, Marina parking lot
16050 Pflumm, Olathe, KS 66062

Breakfast is open to all CPN members and their families. If you would like to join us for breakfast, please let me know not later than 3 p.m., Monday, September 18 by calling me at 785-608-1982 or by email at

Upcoming District 4 Meetings

When: Saturday, October 21 at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served.

Where: CPN Community Center in Rossville

Speakers: Ronnie Wear, the General Manager & CEO of Sovereign Pipe Technologies, CPN’s latest economic development expansion, and Blair Schneider, PhD, from the Kansas Geological Survey speaking on her ground penetrating surveys of the Uniontown Cemetery.

RSVP: No later than 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 17 by calling me at 785-608-1982 or by email at You can also call Lyman Boursaw at 785-249-2915. Please identify which meeting you plan to attend.

When: Sunday, October 29 at 12:30 p.m. Lunch will be served.

Where: Mid-America All-Indian Center located at 650 N. Seneca St. in Wichita
Speakers: Bryan Cain, President & CEO of the Tribally-owned Sovereign Bank, formerly the First National Bank of Oklahoma

RSVP: No later than 5 p.m., Tuesday, October 24, by calling me at 785-608-1982 or by email at You can also call Lyman Boursaw at 785-249-2915. Please identify which meeting you plan to attend.

Upcoming CPN Elders’ Potlucks

The dates for the next two Elder Potlucks held in CPN Community Center in Rossville at noon are:

September 8 | BBQ meat balls & cheesy potatoes | RSVP by the 5th
October 13 | Breakfast | RSVP by the 10th

Join us and bring your favorite side dish or dessert. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Tracy at 785-584-6171.

Gathering of Potawatomi 2023

I had the opportunity to attend the Gathering hosted by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, whose reservation is located near Fulton, Michigan, just south of Battle Creek. As this was my third trip there, I was extremely impressed with the expansion of their tribal government buildings and new housing. During the introductions at the Leadership Council held on the first day of the Gathering, I took the opportunity to inform the other tribal leaders that the Potawatomi language will be offered for the first time this fall at Kansas State University. As we took our seats at the Economic Council that was held the following day, Eva Marie Carney, the District 2 Legislator, and I discovered that we were the first tribe to give an eight minute presentation on the Nation’s economic development. We quickly put together a list of our achievements and informed those in attendance of the Tribe’s accomplishments and briefly described those in the planning phase. Later I heard from the moderator of the council that she and the other attendees were very impressed with what the Nation is doing.

Email Addresses

Recently, I have sent out several very important emails. If you are not receiving my emails, either I do not have your email address or what I have entered is incorrect or has been changed. If you would like to be added to my email list, simply send me an email at

It is an honor to serve as your legislator.

Megwetch (Thank you),

Jon Boursaw | Wetase Mkoh (Brave Bear) | | 2007 SW Gage Blvd. | Topeka, KS 66604 | 785-608-1982 | Office Hours: Tuesday 9-11 a.m. | Thursdays 3-5 p.m. | Other times as requested

Gene Lambert
District 5

Headshot of CPN District 5 Legislator Gene Lambert.

Bozho (Hello),

We have all heard the term “Indian Giver” at some point in our lives. I remember the term from the time I was a child and understood it to be negative in its use. But, was it?
Now the search is on regarding its original meaning, where it came from and how we use it today.

As it turns out, a lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Hutchison, coined the phrase in 1758. His understanding was that an Indian gift was “a present for which an equivalent return is expected.”

So originally it was a simple gift exchange. Then, adding insult to injury, the language and its intent used by our Indigenous people didn’t coincide with the Europeans. It was a cultural misunderstanding.

Quoting David Wilton, in his 2004 book Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends:

To an Indian, the giving of gifts was an extension of this system of trade and a gift was expected to be reciprocated with something of equal value. Europeans, upon encountering this practice, misunderstood it, considering it uncouth and impolite. To them, trade was conducted with money and gifts were freely given with nothing expected in return. So this native practice got a bad reputation among the white colonists of North America and the term eventually became a playground insult.

Hard to believe something coined and identified as far back as 1758 is still being used to define Indigenous practices or intentions today.

It was also stated that John Adams, who later became a U.S. President, took exception to the phrase. Perhaps he held a better understanding of intent.

In the 1900s the term became commonplace in terms of its negativity.

Comedian Louis CK calls the phrase “one of most offensive things you can call someone.” However, he goes on to say the Native Americans gave away our land and wanted it back, suggesting some truth to the phrase:

“What it’s meant to be is that someone gave you something and then changed their minds,” explained the comedian. “We equate this to the Indians, because our feeling is that they gave us America and… then they changed their minds about giving it to us, and it’s so offensive when you consider the truth.”

Next, we have a song written and recorded by the name “Indian Giver” for a 1969 album by Bobby Bloom, Ritchie Cordell and Bo Gentry.

It appears there was a resurgence in 2011 when Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries decided to get a divorce and he wanted his two-million-dollar ring back. Kim’s mother told her to not be an Indian giver and keep the ring.

There is a lot of backlash in the usage of the derogatory term.

Jacqueline Johnson Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians, said in a statement about Kris Jenner’s use of the phrase, “The phrase ‘Indian giving’ is wrong and hurtful. The cultural values of Native Americans are based on giving unconditionally and empowering those around them.” (Hollywood Reporter, Nov. 4 2011).

There are many hurtful phrases out there being used every day, and we do not realize the hurt and negativity connected.

Just for fun…try some of the phrases you use often and think about where they came from. Enter the phrase in Google or other search engine and see which culture it came from and why we use it unknowingly today. I was shocked!

In the meantime, stay cool through this heat wave and love and support each other.

Love you all,

Gene Lambert (Eunice Imogene Lambert) | Butterfly Woman | | 270 E Hunt Highway Ste 229 | San Tan Valley, AZ 85143 | Cell: 480-228-6569 | Office: 480-668-0509

Rande Payne
District 6

Headshot of CPN District 6 Legislator Rande Payne.

Bozho Jayak (Hello everyone),

For the first time since 1991, I drove to the Family Reunion Festival back in June. It was great! And so was Festival! Yes, it was hot, but so what. June is always hot! A surprise thunderstorm cooled things down a bit but presented its challenges for outdoor activities. Our people are resilient and weathered the storm with flying colors. We have so many dedicated and hard-working people who make Festival very enjoyable for everyone else, and I’m very thankful for them. Congratulations to David Barrett, Bobbie Bowden and Andy Walters on their successful re-election campaigns. I’m honored to know them and serve with them.

Meeting the team at Sovereign Pipe and getting to tour the plant validated that our investment in the enterprise will soon be paying big dividends. After a slow start and ultimately shifting to operating the plant ourselves, I’m confident that it was the way it was supposed to be in the first place.

Tribal member Sharon Hoogstraten did a lecture on her book Dancing for Our Tribe. Listening to Sharon share her story about how the book came to be and her thought process behind every aspect created a special connection to her work. The quality of the materials used for the book and the amount of detail put into preserving our modern era story is evident throughout the book. I am now the proud owner of an autographed copy. For anyone interested in having a copy of their own, you can find it at

I was able to attend the 2023 Gathering of Potawatomi Nations in Battle Creek Michigan, in July hosted by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi. The Leadership Summit resulted in the formation of the Potawatomi Confederation of Tribal Nations. The Potawatomi Articles of Confederation state in Article I: General, Section 2: “This Confederation seeks to promote unity, cooperation, and mutual support among Nations, and to advance the interest and well-being of its citizens and Indigenous peoples.” Guest speaker Allison Binney, federal lobbyist for NHBP, presented an update on U.S. federal policies. Allison spoke about issues with our people being able to cross freely between the U.S. and Canada as outlined in the Jay Treaty. It seems that most of the issue lies with a lack of training for border crossing personnel. Work continues so that we can cross into Canada and back using our Tribal ID cards. Allison also spoke about Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) and some of the work being done by the federal government in cooperation with Native American tribes. Bryan Newland, U.S. assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, was also a guest speaker via Zoom from Washington, D.C. Bryan covered a variety of topics outlining the work currently being done in Washington on behalf of Native nations. All in all, it was a very informative and productive Leadership Summit.

Coming next month is the annual District 6 and 7 Gathering. District 7 Representative Mark Johnson and I would like to invite you to join us on Saturday, Oct. 21. Whether you’ve attended in the past or have never attended, we’ll do our best to provide you with a fun and informative meeting. You can register online at We hope to see you next month!

Congratulations to Chairman Barrett, who is one of eight honorees selected for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2023. Induction into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame is recognized as Oklahoma’s Highest Honor.

Potawatomi Word of the Month: Bnakwi gises – October

Wisdom from the Word: “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1

Migwetch, bama pi, (Thank you, until later),

Rande K. Payne | Mnedo Gabo | | 31150 Road 180 | Visalia, CA 93292-9585 | 559-999-5411

Mark Johnson
District 7

Headshot of Mark Johnson, District 7 incumbent

Bozho nikanek (Hello friends),

On Saturday, Oct. 21, Rande Payne and I will be hosting a combined District 6 and 7 meeting and Fall Festival in Visalia, California. You should receive your invitation postcard with instructions on how to register for this event. We normally have around 100 or so members and guests attend, and it is always a great time for information sharing and to gather as a tribal nation as a run up to Native American Heritage Month in November. We always have a great meal, so if you register and then discover that you cannot attend, please remember to cancel your reservation.

Autumn colors and leaf designs frame event details for the 2023 District 6&7 Fall Heritage Festival.

In California, the state launched a $101 million dollar grant program to support California Native American tribes on ancestral land return, nature-based solutions that help combat climate change. Developed with tribal input and backed with funding approved by the legislature, the new tribal nature-based solutions grant program will support tribes in their efforts to reacquire ancestral land, address impacts of climate change on their communities, and conserve and protect biodiversity. Funding can be used by tribes to purchase land, train their workforce, expand and communicate traditional knowledge, build tribal capacity and build projects and programs to protect culturally important natural resources and protect climate change. The reason that I bring this up is that it shows how far our Tribe is ahead of those California tribes. I am glad that the state is stepping up to help our brothers and sisters in this state, and I am proud that the Citizen Potawatomi Nation has been working on all these areas for years now, and just how important it has been for our Nation to be leader in so many of these areas. I hope you are proud too.

Once again, I would like to say what an honor it is to serve you as your District 7 Legislator. As always, give me a call and I will be happy to work with you on any questions you may have or provide you with additional information you may need to access tribal benefits that are available to you. Please also take the time to give me a call or send me an email with your contact information so that I can keep you informed of the happenings within the Nation and District.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Mark Johnson | Wisk Mtek (Strong as a Tree) | 559-351-0078 |

Dave Carney
District 8

Headshot of CPN District 8 Legislator Dave Carney.

Bozho, nikan (Hello, friend),

The Potawatomi are powerful people. In fact, we are so powerful that we can make it rain during a two-month dry spell just by having a cookout. That’s right — no real measurable rain in the area since May, but a legitimate rain the morning of our Aug. 5 get-together.

A little over 70 members and their guests gathered this Saturday to enjoy each other’s company and learn a bit about our history, culture and traditions. Presentation topics were the Potawatomi naming tradition, a challenge for each member present to learn three (new to them) Potawatomi words from a list of over 20, and a talk about the Potawatomi Trail of Death by the author of Two Moon Journey, Peggy King Anderson. Peggy stayed around and signed books throughout the rest of the event.

Lunch was fairly standard summer cookout food — hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and chips — grilled by my adult kids, Luke and Sophia Carney, with the assistance of Marv and Jan Lamascus. Desserts were amazing — all brought by the attending members.

As is our tradition, we honored the member who had traveled the farthest. Generally this comes down to a geography lesson — is North Dakota farther than southern Alabama? At this meeting, there was no question who had traveled the farthest: Cecilia Anderson, who had flown in from Berlin, Germany, the day before.

Our youngest enrolled member was Elizabeth (Lizzie) Paige Kincaid at seven months, and our wisest member was Erma Pozzabon at the age of 93. Both Lizzie and Erma received Pendleton blankets from the CPN Gift Shop at the Cultural Heritage Center.

After lunch, our wisest and farthest traveled award winners voted on the winners of the art contest — not an easy task. We had some pretty amazing artwork. All submitted work was created by a Citizen Potawatomi and had a Native topic. The winners were:
Julian Warne dominated in the 12 and under category for a watercolor with the CPN Tribal Seal.

In the craft competition, Julie Jackon took the prize for a flat fan for her regalia that included wrapped eagle feathers, beading and leatherwork.

The fine arts category winner was Sarah Gleaves for a still life oil painting.

The meeting concluded with a question-and-answer session and group discussion with topics ranging from CPN benefits, use of the Indian Health Services, historic allotments, COVID funds, the Iron Horse Industrial Park to Tribal rolls.

I’d like to thank several District 8 citizens for the honor of naming them the day of the event. They were Renee Biscarret and her brother, Thomas Biscarret, of the Muller Family; Donna Chapman of the Bergeron and Lewis families; and Alejandra Joy Nieves of the Melot family.

Please save the date: I am looking forward to being able to meet in person with District 8 members. The date of the Fall Feast has been set for Oct. 14 and it will be held at the Duwamish Long House in Seattle. It will be a mid-day meal and gathering.

It is my honor to serve as your Legislator,

Dave Carney | Kagashgi (Raven) | | 520 Lilly Road, Building 1 | Olympia, WA 98506 | 360-259-4027

Paul Wesselhöft
District 9

Headshot of CPN District 9 Legislator Paul Wesselhoft.

Bozho, nikan (Hello, friend),

Potawatomi Artists

Please check out Potawatomi Artists, a private and active Facebook group where members display and enjoy various art forms such as: painting, photography, music, drama, poetry, short stories, crafts, jewelry and regalia as well as Potawatomi history, culture and language.

The group is for Potawatomi members from the various American and Canadian tribes. We are a North American art colony. Creative works don’t necessarily have to be Potawatomi themed, and members don’t have to be artists themselves. PA is a place for art lovers.

Potawatomi Artists is not a forum for controversies or selling non-creative works. Advertisements and promotions of creative works are welcome. We are a membership of 3,909. By year’s end, we will reach over 4,000 Potawatomi members.
Creative Potawatomis, join us and share your art forms, or simply enjoy great Potawatomi art.

Chairman Barrett appointed me to The Tribal Culture and Art Committee. He wrote, “Dear Representative Wesselhöft: Since you are one of our number that has exhibited an interest, and talent, in art and culture, (particularly fiction, poetry, and drama), I am appointing you to the Tribal Culture and Art Committee. Thank you for your continuing service to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.”

I’m pleased to be a member of this important committee and plan to propose and support resolutions that will enhance our Tribal history, culture, arts and language. Creating Potawatomi Artists is one way to unite our artists and encourage their creative talents.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Paul Wesselhöft | Naganit (Leader) | |

David Barrett
District 10

Headshot of CPN District 10 Legislator David Barrett.

Bozho (Hello),

We left Oklahoma to go to the Gathering in order to enjoy some nice weather with temperatures in the 80s. The Gathering at Battle Creek didn’t disappoint me in that; however, we did have to bring the powwow inside the FireKeepers Casino, which accommodated everyone with ease, for the Friday night grand entry due to thunderstorms. Then for Saturday, we went to the Pine Creek reservation for the activities and grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi issued food vouchers to the registered guests, which was delicious. From my point of view, the Smoke N Fire casino restaurant was my favorite place to eat due to having excellent food. The food vendors at the Pine Creek campgrounds were very good, and the amount of food given was plentiful, especially the stir-fry and the trout, which they ran out of early. They served the traditional meal on Saturday around 4 p.m. right before the grand entry.

View of the color guard procession from the stands at the Grand Entry during the Potawatomi Gathering.

There weren’t any glitches until Sunday, when our people were traveling home on the Potawatomi Fire bus when, just after entering Illinois, the belts came off of the bus’s motor. What a nightmare. Of course on a Sunday, no businesses are open. Tim Zientek and Margaret Zientek took control and finally got our people home one way or another, some sooner than others, but all made it back by that Friday around 6 p.m.

It has always been an honor to meet with other Potawatomi tribal council members from all of the 11 different tribes. Since I’m a veteran, we brought in our Eagle Staff and colors at grand entry according to the number of grand entries the hosting tribe has on their schedule. To see this is amazing and to be a part of it you are overwhelmed with pride.

After getting back home, our Citizen Potawatomi Nation veteran group had the privilege of presenting our colors at the 84th annual meeting of the Canadian Valley Electric Cooperative at the FireLake Arena on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023. This is one of the largest venues where our veterans perform since it is very local and Canadian Valley provides utility service to more than 25,000 accounts, including residential, commercial and industrial members.

The CPN Veterans Organization presents the colors at an indoor event.

Take time to thank a veteran, first responder and a person in blue when you have an opportunity.

It goes without saying that it is both a pleasure and an honor to serve you and our great Nation. Thank you again for your trust in me for another four years.

Migwetch (Thank You),

David Barrett | Mnedobe (Sits with the Spirits) | | 1601 S. Gordon Cooper Dr. | Shawnee, OK 74801 | 405-275-3121