Alan Melot
District 1

Headshot of CPN District 1 Legislator Alan Melot.

Happy holidays everyone!

I got a letter from one of the wisest citizens in District 1 last week, and it was just full of gratitude. How perfect! Their appreciation for our Nation was palpable, with shout-outs to our mail-order program for seniors and scholarship program for students. It is that time of year, so here’s more about gratitude:

  • Gratitude is linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, leading to better overall mental well-being.
  • Expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships by fostering a sense of appreciation and connection with others.
  • Grateful individuals tend to experience higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction.
  • Gratitude can lower stress levels and help individuals cope with challenging situations.
  • Gratitude has been associated with improved physical health, including better sleep and a stronger immune system.
  • Grateful people often exhibit greater resilience when facing adversity and setbacks.
  • Gratitude can boost self-esteem and self-worth, as it focuses on recognizing strengths and positive qualities.
  • Practicing gratitude can foster a more optimistic outlook on life.
  • Grateful individuals tend to be more empathetic and compassionate towards others.
  • Gratitude can motivate individuals to work towards their goals and engage in prosocial behaviors.

If you’re wondering about how to grow in this area, keep reading!

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal: Write down things you are thankful for regularly, whether it’s daily or weekly.
  • Express Thanks: Tell people you appreciate them and why you are grateful for their presence in your life.
  • Reflect on Positive Moments: Take time to reflect on positive experiences and relive the feelings of gratitude associated with them.
  • Mindful Gratitude: Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present moment and appreciating the beauty and blessings around you.
  • Random Acts of Kindness: Show gratitude through acts of kindness, such as helping someone in need or surprising them with a thoughtful gesture. I don’t mean buying coffee for the person in line behind you, either, I mean being a genuine help to someone in need!

In keeping with this, I want to share my gratitude for the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association for their hard work and very successful caravan. We had citizens from the District and all over the continent join at different places and share in the journey, and were also joined by Legislators from Districts 3 and 4, Bob Whistler and Jon Boursaw. Many pictures and stories were shared in person and online, all as a result of the dedication of a handful of people. This is a fabulous way to get involved, and I would strongly encourage all of you to figure out how you can become active with this legacy of ours. George Godfrey has led this group to become an independent and healthy grassroots organization, and I am excited to look forward to many years of collaboration with them as they continue their good work. Here’s a photo of Joe Wulfkulhe, Lyman Boursaw, myself and Kevin Roberts at the Heritage Park in Olathe, Kansas, where our ancestors passed through. Joining the caravan was a powerful personal experience, and I hope each of you get a chance to participate in the future!

Also, here’s a picture of Dan Witt at the Deerfield, Michigan, Sesquicentennial parade. Dan said, “This is a picture of the first iron horse our family farm owned with me driving it. I felt great pride in flying the Citizen Potawatomi Nation flag in recognition of the Algonquin people that called southeastern Michigan their home.” Very cool, Dan, thanks for sharing!

It’s a privilege to be able to serve you. I still have some Jim Thunder books. Get in touch if you’d like one!

Until next time, bama pi!

Alan Melot
Legislator, District 1
608 S. Sergeant
Joplin, MO 64801

Eva Marie Carney
District 2

Headshot of CPN District 2 Legislator Eva Marie Carney.

Bozho nikanek,
(Hello friends),

Bodewadmi Confederation of Tribal Nations
During our September meeting, the Legislators, in an executive session, heard from our Tribal attorney and discussed my proposal that we sign on to the Articles of Confederation presented at the Potawatomi Gathering of tribal leaders meeting this summer. The consensus view was not to sign on at this time.

I continue to think we should participate now so that we can help shape the confederation and set priorities. I am hopeful that we will join in the future, as the confederation evolves.

Report on Public Law 477 Workgroup Meeting
At the invitation of CPN citizen and our Workforce and Social Services Department Director Margaret Zientek, I attended the annual meeting of federal partners and Tribal 477 Workgroup Under Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Act of 2017, held in September in Washington, D.C. Margaret serves as the 477 Tribal Workgroup Committee chair. Margaret has been vital to the progress made to date in bundling federal funds to provide needed services in Native communities, including CPN.

Twelve federal agencies are now subject to Public Law 477. This means that grant funds from these agencies are consolidated, and CPN and other participating Native nations are required only to submit a single plan, budget and report to the Department of the Interior to receive the bundled funds. There have been issues with agencies’ adherence to the requirements. Margaret addressed these with authority, while ensuring that other Nations’ representatives had their say, too. It was good to see these efforts to ensure that tribes, not the federal government, set their own priorities on receipt of federal funds. Migwetch (thank you), Margaret.

Fall Feast 2023
Please RSVP to attend the District 2 Fall Feast on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia. This will be a family event, with a craft, feast and traditional hand games and giveaways. We will honor all veterans who attend. Children are welcome and may be able to complete the craft with adult assistance. Please bring a dish to share for our feast. Our wisest, youngest and furthest travelled will be celebrated. See the postcard invitation included here and my D2 website calendar for full details at

In a first for District 2, we’ll also have an art contest, with three categories: Fine Arts, Arts + Crafts, and Under 12. Please bring your art! Our wisest and farthest-travelled attendees — if they are willing! — will choose the artist to receive the prize in each category, and those selected will be invited to talk about their work.

Orange, red and green leaves behind an orange banner with event details for the CPN District 2 Fall Family Feast on November 11, 2023.

Rock Your Mocs 2023
Rock Your Mocs Day is Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. You can choose that day or the whole month of November to wear your mkesinen (moccasins) — the idea is to celebrate with and to honor our ancestors and Indigenous peoples worldwide. To participate, wear your mkesinen, take a photo or video, add the hashtag #RockYourMocs and upload to social media. You’ll be helping to create an online photo album for the world to see and enjoy, and that will underscore that #WeAreStillHere.

Native American Heritage Day 2023
In 2009, the Friday after U.S. Thanksgiving Day each year was designated permanently, by public law, as “Native American Heritage Day.” This year we celebrate on Nov. 24. Please spread the word and celebrate! I’ll be doing my part. In my role with The Kwek Society (, I’ve arranged to have 3,500 flyers about the holiday (and The Kwek Society) stuffed in everyone’s Arlington Turkey Trot race bags, and will participate in the race!

Take care and let me hear from you.  

Eva Marie Carney
Ojindiskwe (Bluebird Woman)
Legislator, District 2
Citizen Potawatomi Nation
P.O. Box 5595
Arlington, VA 22205
Toll Free: 1-888-849-1484 (voicemail)

Bob Whistler
District 3

Headshot of CPN District 3 Legislator Bob Whistler.

Bozho Ginwa (Hello everyone),

August 12 meeting

Our meeting on Aug. 12 in Bryan, Texas, went very well! We had 45 in attendance, 20 of whom were children running in age from about 14 months to 15 years old. Based upon the number of children who planned to attend, I was accompanied by a friend who loves to sew doll clothes. She gets dolls at very low prices and then makes individual change of clothes for each. All of the dolls are about 15 inches high.

We started the meeting with introductions. Then my friend had each child come up to a table display of about 20 dolls and roughly 60 to 80 sets of clothes choices. Each child selected their doll and three or four outfit changes.

I began my presentation at this point with a review of The Potawatomi Gathering as well as covering some of our Nation’s current events. The children were occupied with their new dolls, resulting in a quiet audience.

After the initial presentation, we had a short break. I then held the recognition of the wisest and eldest Tribal member present, coupled with the youngest and who had traveled the furthest. Leroy Copeland is our wisest and was presented with a blanket. Ace Cahill was our youngest enrolled child and was presented with a small blanket that had bison. The 14-month-old present had paperwork submitted but it had not yet been approved by the Legislature for enrollment. Beverly Pecotte had driven over from San Antonio, which made her travel the furthest. She was presented with one of our large CPN blankets custom made for our gift shop.

I hadn’t known about my friend’s intent to provide dolls for this meeting and in my planning had secured one of the 2023 Family Reunion Festival cloth back packs for each child. So, right after the recognitions and before my planned craft classes, my friend and I gave a backpack to each child.

With the children involved with the dolls, clothing options and backpacks, we started classes for adults and older children.

The adult class consisted of peyote beading a 3-inch aluminum portable medicine container with key ring attached. It is bullet shaped and the end opposite the key ring has a cap that can be screwed off. Each adult was provided with a paper plate and a quart size plastic bag. The bag contained the medicine container with a pre-threaded needle with the needle fastened to the container by the thread wrapped around both. There were also five different sets of colored beads in the bag. Since the beading would have presented a challenge for the children, we had about eight choker sets available for the older children (10-15 years old) as a craft.

The beading is very time consuming, so I knew it would be a challenge to have a finished item by the end of the meeting. A brief printed copy on peyote beading was given to a few interested attendees. I offered to send a copy of my program to anyone who wished to have it when they worked on their item afterward.

As we neared time for the meeting’s end, I issued a raffle ticket for each adult so everyone could take something home. Each adult selected an item from a table display.

Time permitting, there may be one or two more meetings before year’s end.

I am honored to serve as the elected representative for District 3 and thank you for this honor.

Nagech (later),

Bob Whistler
Legislator, District 3
1516 Wimberly Ct.
Bedford, TX 76021

Jon Boursaw
District 4

Headshot of CPN District 4 Legislator Jon Boursaw.

Fellow CPN Veterans, thank you for your service!

I would like to extend my personal thanks and appreciation to all CPN veterans and to those CPN members currently serving their country. Take pride in being a veteran on Veterans Day and every day. It is an honor to serve you as your district representative.

Recognizing the 185th Anniversary of the Potawatomi Trail of Death

On Saturday, Sept. 23, I participated in an event in Olathe, Kansas, welcoming the travelers on this year’s Potawatomi Trail of Death (PTOD) Caravan as it entered Kansas on its way to what had been the Sugar Creek Reservation, the Trail’s final destination. The event was hosted by the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Commission. In addition to several members of the Johnson County Commission, the event was attended by approximately 30 members on the caravan, another 30 local CPN members and family members and a very sizeable number of local Johnson County residents. I was joined by Alan Melot, CPN legislator from District 1, and Bob Whistler, legislator from District 3, when we accepted a proclamation sent by U.S. Congresswoman Sharice Davids, representing the 3rd Congressional District in Kansas. Representative Davids is an enrolled member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. After describing the tragedies and hardships encountered during the Tribe’s removal, she ended her proclamation with: “As this year’s march continues, let us never forget those that came before us, their legacies and the sacrifices they endured.”

Last Chance Store

Recently it was my pleasure to represent the Nation at an event in Council Grove, Kansas, recognizing the reopening of both the Kaw Mission and the Last Chance Store. Both buildings are historical sites in Kansas, operated and maintained by the Kansas Historical Society. The Kaw Mission had originally been a boarding school for the Kanza or Kaw children. The Last Chance Store, built in the 1850s, was originally located on the Santa Fe Trail. Shortly after I arrived, I was sitting alone having a cup of coffee when a gentleman from Delaware stopped and struck up a conversation. As it turned out, he was also retired Air Force and we discovered we had both been at several of the same locations, but never at the same time. But the most interesting subject in our conversation dealt with his great-great-grandparents. They had travelled the Underground Railroad to escape from slavery in Virginia and eventually reached Council Grove where they were allowed to hide in the basement of the Last Chance Store for several months, waiting for the end of the Civil War. After obtaining their freedom, they eventually homesteaded just south of Council Grove. Later my friend was honored by being the first visitor to enter the store’s basement following its restoration. Needless to say, it was a very emotional moment for him as he stood on the top step.

Upcoming CPN Elders’ Potlucks

Dates for the next two Elder potlucks held in Rossville at noon are:

November 17 | Traditional Thanksgiving Feast (Turkey and mashed potatoes) | RSVP by the 14th

December 8 | Traditional Holiday Feast (Ham, mashed potatoes and corn) | RSVP by the 5th

Bring your favorite side dish or dessert. Please RSVP to Tracy at 785-584-6171.

Abram Burnett’s Burial Site

I am very pleased to announce that the work on Burnett’s burial site in Topeka has been completed.

Peggy and I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Megwetch (Thank you),

Jon Boursaw
Wetase Mkoh (Brave Bear)
Representative, District 4
2007 SW Gage Blvd
Topeka, KS 66604
785-608-1982 cell
Office Hours:
Tuesday            9-11 a.m.
Thursday          3-5 p.m.
Other times as requested

Gene Lambert
District 5

Headshot of CPN District 5 Legislator Gene Lambert.

Bozho (Greetings),

The month of November and through the end of the year celebrates one holiday after another, continuing on through February with Valentine’s Day.

We bring holidays in to remember and acknowledge special things and times in life. While they have become very commercial, let’s not let go or forget the original purpose of these special days set aside so they do not blend one day into another. Looking back at days before today, we reminisce and enjoy our memories. 

What if some of these holidays were brought about originally to hide truths and dissuade?

I had always celebrated the 4th of July and the Declaration of Independence since that was my birthday, not knowing what was hidden in that declaration.

We are continually referenced as savages and the 10 Indian laws you wouldn’t want to go against. It could bring about imprisonment and/or withholding food to maintain control of the Native communities. (You can fact check that by reading the declaration at I never realized because that isn’t what we were taught.

This subject matter brings up the next upcoming holiday “Thanksgiving.” Please don’t think for one minute I am suggesting you not enjoy your families on the special day. We always thought it was a day in which you were appreciative of your loved ones and all the blessings the Creator bestowed on you. This is true in your heart. 

However, it was officially established November 1863 during the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln.  

According to Dr. Kelli Mosteller, former director of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center, it was brought about attempting to create unity between the north, south and tribal nations.

Just one year earlier a mass execution had occurred, taking the lives of over 400 Dakota Sioux, causing a retaliation in 1862. President Lincoln thought establishing a Thanksgiving holiday would bridge the gap and eliminate dissention.

“It just disregards (the centuries of brutality) against Native Americans and chooses to take this one tiny snapshot, and in the world of social media, it puts all the pretty filters on it so that it doesn’t look the way it truly did,” said Dr. Mosteller.

Regardless of how you feel about our history it is imperative we insist and support truth. No one wants to remember the ugly truth in our history.

Should it be wiped out or significantly altered, it leaves the opportunity to repeat itself in the future.

We can see in current headlines attempting to defuse the genocides of the Jewish people in Germany.

We know it happened yet there is an attempt to create an “alternate truth.”

The same is currently gently parading through the world of Indigenous people. Did I say gently? It is as gentle as a semi running through your living room in the middle of the night.

Thanksgiving has become a wonderful family time to share and come together.

This year let’s keep in mind and acknowledge the truths in observing the day.

Never forget our ancestors and what they endured that we might be here today as a Nation.

Have a great holiday remembering to be thankful.

Love you all,

Gene Lambert
Butterfly Woman
Legislator District 5
270 E Hunt Hwy, Suite 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 nikanek, (Hello, friends)

It was nice to see some of the Tescier family history published in the September Hownikan. I’m a proud Tescier family descendant from my mother’s side. Clara Louise, listed as John Isadore and Alice May Smith Tescier’s firstborn, is my grandmother. Her allotment sits along the west side of Triple X Road up against the North Canadian River. The house is still there and sits up on a knoll. The front porch of that house is where my grandpa Lane would play his fiddle and banjo when family members from all along Triple X Road came to gather as mentioned in the Hownikan. My mother once said she didn’t know they were poor because she was too busy having fun with her siblings and the many cousins who lived nearby.

Betty Josephine Lane Payne would have turned 100 years old in October this year. October of 1923 was an incredible month for rainfall near Oklahoma City. So much so that there were great concerns that the dam at Lake Overholser would not hold the water and, in fact, a levee near the dam was breeched and caused a new channel in the North Canadian to be created. Meanwhile, downstream near Choctaw, the knoll my grandparents’ house sat on had become an island surrounded by the river as my grandmother was about to give birth to my mother.

As the water continued to rise and fears mounted that Overholser Dam might break, my grandmother was moved to higher ground to my great-grandparents’ (John and Alice May) house along NE 23rd Street (Hwy 62) near the intersection of Triple X Road. It was in that house on Oct. 16, 1923, my mother was born. My mother’s brother Elton teased her as a young girl that they got her when they pulled her out of the North Canadian River as she came floating by on a frog’s back. She said she believed that for the longest time!

Across Triple X Road from my grandparent’s house near the old bridge, a pond formed with water from the North Canadian River that came to be known as Tescier Lake (pronounced Tasee). That’s where everyone learned to swim and where all the cousins would gather on those hot summer days. I go up to Tescier Lake every year during Family Reunion Festival to visit the home place and sit at Tescier Lake for a while. I always recall the story my mother told of the time she almost drowned trying to swim across the lake to her sister and her sister’s boyfriend as they laughed thinking she was faking it. Fortunately, her sister’s boyfriend realized she was in trouble and swam out to help her to safety.

The photo of my mother is her having fun with friends on the old Triple X bridge. That bridge, unfortunately, was taken down and replaced with a new bridge. The new bridge came to be known as the John Isadore Tescier Memorial Bridge. My cousin Bud Maritt worked diligently with the help of his friend Bubba Dean Brumley to have the bridge named after my great-grandfather. Sadly, my mother passed away in January 2009. The bridge was dedicated later that same year.

For those interested, I should point out that in the Hownikan Tescier family history article, it was Anthony Tescier, Sr. and Elizabeth who had daughter Rose Ann, not John and Elizabeth.

I’m not sure how it happened but my late brother Bobby’s obituary appeared in the September Hownikan along with the Tescier family history article. I’m sure he would be pleased.

I’m blessed with a rich family history and I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the members of our tribe. I’m thankful to be part of the family of Potawatomis that is Citizen Potawatomi Nation Joganoganan (All my relations).

Wisdom from the Word: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and His courtyards with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His faithfulness is to all generations.” Psalm 100: 4-5

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nagetch (Later),

Rande K. Payne
Mnedo Gabo
Legislator, District 6
31150 Road 180
Visalia, CA 93292-9585

Mark Johnson
District 7

Headshot of Mark Johnson, District 7 incumbent

Bozho nikanek
(Hello friends),

November is Native American Heritage Month. This is a time to celebrate, not just our Tribe, but the rich history, culture and contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Native Americans have lived in North America for at least 12,000 years. We have a diverse range of cultures, languages and traditions. Native Americans have made many contributions to American society, including in the areas of art, medicine, science, sports and government.

Use Native American Heritage Month as an opportunity to learn about Native American history and culture. Use it as a time to reflect on the challenges that Native Americans face today. Native Americans continue to experience discrimination and poverty and, on the whole, we have higher rates of poverty, unemployment and homelessness than any other racial group in the United States.

Native American Heritage Month is also a time to take action to address at a local level the challenges that Native Americans face. We can do this by learning not only our Tribe’s history, but about Native American history and culture in general, supporting Native American-owned businesses, and, if you get a chance, advocating for policies that benefit Native Americans.

Here are some ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month 2023:

  • Visit a museum or historical site that focuses on Native American history and culture.
  • Read books, watch movies or listen to music by Native American artists.
  • Support Native American-owned businesses.
  • Attend a Native American cultural event or gathering.
  • Learn about the challenges that Native Americans face today and take action to address them.
  • Spend time looking at the resources available through our Cultural Heritage Center at

By taking these steps, we can help to ensure that Native American history and culture are celebrated and preserved for future generations.

Taking the time to learn more about our Tribal history will also make you an active participant in your Tribe. You will see where we have been and the struggles we have gone through to get to where we are today. You will also see how fortunate we have been to have the long-term leadership and vision in place with our Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

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)
Legislator, District 7

Dave Carney
District 8

Headshot of CPN District 8 Legislator Dave Carney.

Bozho, nikan (Hello, friend),

At the time of writing this column, I am preparing presentations for the annual Fall Feast. This year, we are having it in the Duwamish Longhouse in Seattle.

Last week, I took a road trip and drove to the venue to meet the caterer. This was a good idea, since I discovered that there had been a change of personnel at the venue. That was the apparent reason for a disruption in communication. Things quickly got back on track and will hopefully be smooth the day of the event. I live between Seattle and Portland and the traffic was typically brutal — an hour and a half there and two and a half home. It should be a good gathering and, from the RSVPs, well attended. I’ve learned through the RSVPs that there will be several members who have never been to a CPN event before, either in Oklahoma or in the district. It is amazing and rewarding to bring people together with their Potawatomi heritage and each other. It is not unusual for attendees to meet cousins or other extended family members for the first time at an event like this.

This year’s craft was coordinated with the help of Leslie Deer, cultural activities coordinator at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Cultural Heritage Center. Many members have known Leslie throughout the years as she has worked with us in crafting, traditional dancing, building regalia and you name it. She and I discussed making something practical, unisex and Potawatomi — and of course that could be made in a relatively short amount of time at a gathering. What we came up with are these grocery tote bags with woodland/Potawatomi designs.

So, basically, we will be tracing woodland patterns from templates onto fabric, cutting them and adhering them to cotton totes in an aesthetically pleasing way. There will be scissors, hot irons and a variety other ways one can hurt themselves — so I will be there with a first aid kit on hand.

For anyone interested in doing this project who isn’t in the district or can’t attend the meeting, please e-mail me at for the templates for the designs and simple instructions.

Please enjoy the fall and all the beauty it brings.

It is my honor to serve as your Legislator,

Dave Carney
520 Lilly Rd. Building 1
Olympia, WA 98506

Paul Wesselhöft
District 9

Headshot of CPN District 9 Legislator Paul Wesselhoft.

Bozho, nikan

(Hello, friend),

Native American Naming Ceremony

Traditionally, “Potawatomi believe that when a child is born, the Creator cannot see their face. To show the child to the Creator, the tribe would have a ceremony and the child was given a name” ( In a wonderful and spiritually enriched ceremony, I was honored with a new name, Naganit (Leader), by Vice-Chairwoman Linda Capps.

It’s evident in talking with our members attending the Family Reunion Festival that most Potawatomis have not received a Native American name. It’s your right and honor to have a name bestowed on you that is meaningful to you as a Native American.

The process is not complicated. First, you simply need to ask a fellow Potawatomi to sponsor you. Elders would be good. They will be at your ceremony and serve as a kind of godparents.

Secondly, find a Potawatomi friend or, better yet, an elder. Offer a gift of tobacco to him or her and ask the member if they will name you. Every Potawatomi member is qualified to bestow a name, as well as you after you receive your name. If the person giving the name is not that acquainted with you, it would help them to know about you so they can formulate your name. Your new name, unlike your birth name, should reflect who you are as a mature or maturing person. In my case, Linda knew that I have been a leader most of my life, so she formulated Naganit.

At the ceremony, the person giving you a name will smudge all attending if they wish. You may invite your friends and family. It’s not necessary for all attending to be Potawatomi. The ceremony takes place in a circle with a fire burning in the center, and all enter the circle from the east. Tribal members may offer tobacco with their left hand as you and they walk clockwise around the circle. They can offer prayers to you, and you can offer a prayer as well.

The person giving you a name will tell something important and interesting about you. They will offer a prayer to the Creator. Then they will bestow a new name on you and place an eagle feather across your chest. They will speak your new name toward the east, west, north and south. As the ceremony ends, all leave the circle from the east.

Now, you have been honored with a Native American name. Bear it with pride, love and good deeds.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Paul Wesselhöft
Naganit (Leader)
Legislator, District 9

Andy Walters
District 11

Headshot of CPN District 11 Legislator Andrew Walters.

Bozho (Hello),

It’s hard to imagine on a day like today, a day in late summer when the sun beats down on Mother Earth, how it will be in November when you read this article. By then, winter will have pushed the autumn away and cold will permeate the land. The circle will begin again. The circle of seasons, within the circle of years. Some of us in later life understand that our world is made of circles, joined together, interconnected. And we see the magic spinning around us, the mad whirling of life, but have become so accustomed to the reoccurring miracles, the magic of the everyday, that ofttimes we forget. Although the dominate culture views this month as one of Thanksgiving, we as Natives view it differently. The beginning of winter. The cruelest of times for our ancestors. They lived in a world where life was measured not in years spent in toil, but rather in winters endured. Their only solace was, and for us still is, the belief in a Great Spirit, God, Mamogosnan. So, in the spirit of the season, please accept this prayer for each of us, our families and jagenagenan. May your winter be mild, your fires warm, food plentiful and your family near. May the magic never escape your eye, nor your heart.

Oh, Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world.
Hear me! I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
ever hold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand
the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.

Help me remain calm and strong in the
face of all that comes towards me.
Help me find compassion without
empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
but to fight my greatest enemy: myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.

– Translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887

Bami pi (Until later),

Andrew Walters