John “Rocky” Barrett
Tribal Chairman

Headshot of CPN Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett

Bozho nikan, (Hello, my friend),

There is nothing I enjoy more than leading our Nation, but it is always a special honor when I get to celebrate victories with our Tribal Members and organizations in the Nation.

Most of you probably watched the Super Bowl as the Kansas City Chiefs won their second straight Super Bowl and third in the past four years. I hope all of you know that the center for the Chiefs is Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member Creed Humphrey. Creed, a member of the Peltier family, is a Shawnee High School graduate who we watched as he left his hometown school to become an All American at the University of Oklahoma. In the past two seasons, Creed has finished the season with a Super Bowl Championship.

Last year, he came home to Shawnee where I got to help honor him and recognize his contribution to the city and his hometown school.

Creed represents his family and the Nation extremely well. He was incredibly patient and kind as he signed autographs and posed for photos with the many young fans who filled the stadium waiting to hear from him and waited in long lines to meet him.

Congratulations to Creed and thank you for letting all of CPN celebrate with you.

We also had a celebration locally for the Tribe’s own basketball team. As you all know, we had a good season in our first year in The Basketball League. But in our second season last year, the Potawatomi Fire won the TBL National Championship, beating teams from cities like Seattle and St. Louis.

This Tribally-owned team brought honor to the Nation and to the city of Shawnee. We recently honored last year’s team members in a ring ceremony where players, coaches and staff received rings to celebrate last year’s championship.

The great news is that Coach Mark Dannhoff and General Manager David Qualls have brought back most of the outstanding players from last year’s Fire squad and have added several players who are expected to make last year’s championship team even better.

The Fire’s third season began on March 1 and will continue through May 25 when the playoffs begin.

Hopefully, the team is still battling in the playoffs when our annual Reunion time comes around again.

Just as Creed Humphrey represents the Nation well as a Tribal member in the National Football League, the Potawatomi Fire honor the Nation by demonstrating the qualities of a top-notch organization from the top down.

Hopefully their playoff schedule allows many of you who are planning to come to our annual Reunion to have a chance to see one of the games and celebrate with us.

These are just as a few of the many reasons you can always be a proud to be a part of CPN.

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),

I have been reading some articles from when our legislative process began with the new constitution of 2007. During the CPN Annual Festival in June of 2008, most of our legislators had been seated except for the runoff election of District 1. I made several statements about our legislators’ three-day stay at headquarters. I said that it was an amazing time to mix and mingle with our elected officials. I noted that our legislators seemed quite impressed with CPN. I knew for sure that CPN administrators and existing elected officials were impressed with our new legislature.

Our employees were very eager to meet the new legislators. It was an exciting time for everyone. To go from five business committee members to the 16-member legislature seemed like a dream come true. It also was a busy time. Each legislator had to choose an office back in their home state. CPN Information Technology personnel were heavily involved due to the new laptops being distributed and Wi-Fi accommodation established for their offices. So much to do and so many Tribal members to contact. It was a monumental achievement for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and certainly enormous footwork for the legislators.

Ironically, I made note of one of the discussion topics during the three days, which was the importance of maintaining the same or accelerated level of service to our Tribal members. Each year with increased enrollment, the challenge remains a concern. I suppose we discussed that topic yesterday, today and we will continue the discussion tomorrow, so to speak. I think it is a bit amusing since I may leave the impression that I have a bit of anxiety about the subject.

The review of the articles from that time in 2008 seems to be light years away. The Tribe has made so much progress since that time. Our legislators have proven the constitutional change in 2007 means everything to our Tribe today. Our legislators have given our membership a whole new contact level with the Tribe. The legislators have taken the government to our people. They have provided current information, the possibility of meeting and interacting with constituents, the accessibility to network by social media. Our legislators have completed the circle in reaching out to Tribal members. It is a much more effective means of communication than what we had prior to 2008.

Migwetch (Thank you),

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

D. Wayne Trousdale

Headshot of Citizen Potawatomi Nation Secretary/Treasurer D. Wayne Trousdale.

Bozho (Hello),

Hopefully everyone is surviving the winter months and the unusual weather patterns that have occurred so far this year. Oklahoma is certainly no exception to unusual weather. Just like the old saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma just stick around for 15 minutes and it will change.” We have already had our first serious cold snap and I am sure that there are more in store for this winter.

Financial audits are on my mind as I pen this article. January is the beginning of all the outside audit firms coming to the administration building to work with our accounting team to start composing the various audits that the Nation has done to ensure that our finances are above reproach. This is an exceptionally busy time for Mary Chisholm, our CFO, and her staff as they not only have the daily accounting activities that are performed for our government programs and our business enterprises but also the added work duties that are a result of the audit firms being present. We certainly appreciate the dedication and work ethic of not just the accounting department but of all employees of CPN. We are very fortunate at CPN to have our employees, and their value is seen every day at the Nation.

Speaking of financial audits, you should know that we have four major entities audited every year. Those four are the Trust Fund, the Community Development Corporation, Sovereign Bank, and the Consolidated Annual Financial Report, which is an audit of the Nation, its governmental programs, and the enterprises. These are not the only audits that are performed but these are the most significant.

Sovereign Bank is audited, as every FDIC bank is required to be audited, because it is a legal requirement. Sovereign Bank is also required to have regular examinations by the Treasury Department of the United States government to verify that we are being managed responsibly and deserve to have the faith of the general public as a depository institution. Your Sovereign Bank has experienced very successful financial results and has also had very favorable examinations. The bank would love to have any of our Tribal members’ banking business in both deposits and possible loans. Utilizing our bank has never been easier for our members given the online advancements that have been made in recent years.

The Trust Fund investments have been managed by the Nation since 1996. This is the year when the Federal government allowed the Tribes to withdraw their money and manage their own affairs after years of mismanagement and poor financial returns. CPN earnings on the Trust Fund investments have consistently bested the government alternative. The audit of the Trust Fund is a CPN constitutional requirement and is performed on an annual basis.

The Community Development Corporation or CDC is very similar to a banking institution. The main point of its mission is to make financing available to a more credit-challenged population. This is an extremely important mission given that access to credit is necessary to conduct business everywhere in the United States. Being able to provide credit in economically depressed areas is vital to success, and Native Americans represent some of the population’s greatest need.

The Consolidated Annual Financial Report, CAFR, is the largest audit as it represents virtually all the Nation’s assets. The report is several hundred pages long and is full of everything financial. This report verifies the annual performance of both the governmental activities and the activities of the Tribal enterprises. The Nation’s financial performance is measured against the annual Tribal budgets. We have had very favorable comparisons in this audit.

I should also note that the CPN accounting department has for 34 years in a row earned the Certificate of Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. As you can tell, we take accounting and audits very seriously here at the Nation. It is of paramount importance to safeguard the assets of the Nation and it is not only my responsibility but also my pleasure to serve you as your Secretary/Treasurer. Thank you for allowing me this honor.

Migwetch (Thank you),

D. Wayne Trousdale | Netemgiwse (Hunts First) | Secretary/Treasurer | 405-275-3121 |

Alan Melot
District 1

Headshot of CPN District 1 Legislator Alan Melot.

Bozho (Hello)!

What a lovely time we’ve had with the loom beading class that Laura Hewuse has led over the past few months! Laura and I had discussed how we could bring more exposure to cultural activities to District 1, and after going back and forth for a couple of months, we decided that teaching loom beading would be a good place to start. We do not live close to each other, and after several televideo conversations, decided to host meetings via Zoom. We are both motivated to connect people with our heritage and culture. It has been difficult, over the decades, to stay in touch when so many of us live so far away from CPN offices in Oklahoma!

About 15 people signed up for our first group, and we were able to supply a starter loom, the thread and needles, and the beads for our first project. I was unsure of how an online group would do over the holidays, and while some folks were unable to meet with us and have delayed participation, others have joined, and we now have about 25 people who have learned to loom!

Loom work by Rosanah Foster. Finished lanyard and a work in progress. So beautiful!

We have created friendships, laughed together and learned together. In February, we were joined by Justin Neely, who told us winter stories in both Potawatomi and English. That was a real treat, and we were joined by quite a few other folks who weren’t part of the loom classes. This project has touched many people. I’ve been really pleased with the participants, who have ranged from 11 years old to some of our wisest. I expect this effort to continue on for many years, passing knowledge and culture on to the next generation, keeping our people connected with both the past and the future. As many have told me, being Potawatomi isn’t just about our history, like some sort of re-enactment, it’s a living culture that goes on in each of our hearts.

Finally, I hope that by now you’ve seen or heard about our Chicago meeting on April 6. We plan to meet around 2 p.m. at the Michigan Avenue Bridge House frieze sculpture of The Battle of Fort Dearborn. Following that, we will move to the Chicago Architectural Center. We will meet there from around 3 till 8 p.m., with a meal served around 5 p.m. I look forward to seeing you all there, as I’ve asked Sharon Hoogstraten to talk to us about her landmark photography project and book Dancing for our Tribe. I’m pretty excited about this meeting and hope to see you there. Please RSVP to me by March 15. My contact information is below.

As always, I hope this finds you well, and I look forward to seeing you all somewhere this summer.

Your friend,

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),

RSVPs invited; bring your art entries

I look forward to seeing folks at our meeting and lunch in Rogers, Arkansas, next month. Date, time and location are included in the reprinted invitation. We will be trying something new — a CPN Citizen Art Show and Contest. The three categories are Fine Arts, Crafts, and 12 and Under. Winners will have the opportunity to speak about their work. I cannot wait to see what is shared with us. Please RSVP today.

Bright blue postcard with green text inviting CPN members to a District 2 meeting on April 20, 2024.

Trip to Chicago and South Bend for The Kwek Society

I recently had a quick trip north (36 hours) to South Bend to accept for The Kwek Society (, a generous check and five-year pledge of support from the Four Winds Casino South Bend, which is owned and operated by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. What a beautiful casino and hotel complex, and what generous hosts! Like our own Nation, The Pokagon Band invests in the community and the region, and in organizations that focus on the needs of Native people. I was among the group of 12 nonprofit leaders who were presented checks totaling $435,000. I was particularly excited to be in the company of Bodwéwadmimwen Ėthë ték, Inc. (, which focuses on Potawatomi language preservation programs. You can read more about the event and the recipient organizations at I was excited to spread the word about our work to end period poverty through an interview played on ABC57- South Bend, which you can see a bit of and read about by visiting

A group of about 30 people stands in a stairwell holding oversized symbolic checks.
Pokagon Band January 2024 presentation of checks to local and national nonprofits

Representing CPN within Home Depot

CPN citizen Bill Anderson, an Anderson descendant and Senior UX Designer at The Home Depot, working out of Atlanta, recently shared that the company has established the Native American Associate Resource Group (ARG). Bill is a founding member of the group. He notes that the group welcomes all associates who share mutual interests in Native American celebration, education, development and outreach, and that its primary objective is to cultivate a sense of community within The Home Depot while fostering cultural awareness and respect.

ARG’s first event, held late last year, focused on education about tribal culture and traditions and featured Chickasaw and Cherokee Nation representatives along with Bill, representing our Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Bill currently is participating in our Mdamen program ( for his own growth and as a means to bring more Potawatomi teachings to ARG participants.

Prize-winning CPN scholar

Proud aunt, District 2’s Barbara Fair Little (a DeGraff descendant), shared the news that her niece, CPN citizen Sarah Worthan, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Zuckerkandl Prize. The prize recognizes the top paper published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution. Sarah is a postdoctoral researcher in the Behringer lab in Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She describes her paper as “serving as a cautionary guide to those performing fitness assays following an adaptive laboratory evolution approach. We found that very small changes to the execution of the fitness assay led to varying results, and we were eager to share these insights with the community. The fact that our paper was chosen for this prestigious prize indicates that the editorial panel agrees that disseminating findings such as these are of great importance.” You can read more about her work at; I admit that most of the explanation provided went over my head!

Photo of a woman wearing a patterned blouse and a blazer.
Sarah Bradham Worthan, Ph.D.

Please keep your family news and be in contact!

Migwetch (Thank you),

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),

D3 Meetings

Our first meeting for 2024 will be Saturday, April 20, in Tyler, Texas, at the Historical Aviation Memorial Museum, 150 Airport Drive, # 2-7, Tyler, TX 75704. Their phone is 903-402-1945. This is the original airport terminal in Tyler and is located just past the new terminal. We will meet from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch and water will be provided. A post card will be mailed out with the information. Please RSVP to with the number in your party.

The Dallas meeting that I had on my agenda for April 13 had to be postponed because the Dallas Native Care Center is undergoing remodeling and will not be completed until sometime after June. We will hold a meeting there when the facility becomes available.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Those of you who really like modern art and live in the Seattle area are in for a treat. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is a citizen of the Montana Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation. The Fort Worth Modern Art Museum hosted approximately 120 of her artistic items for roughly three months. The exhibit closed on Jan. 29 and is supposedly making Seattle, Washington, the next stop. Modern art is not my primary artistic interest, but her works were very well done. There was a small gallery of drawings and prints called the Custer Series. A photo accompanies this. Another very large item made of acrylic, fabric, charcoal, paper and newspaper on canvas had a bison with the word SPAM beneath the bison. The artist is noting the fact that the bison was once a primary source of food for our ancestors. Through the use of disease and deliberate, indiscriminate killing of the bison, it has now resulted in many of us resorting to our primary nutrition coming from canned and processed foods represented by SPAM. SPAM in particular is a staple item on many of the reservations today. I have included a photo of this canvas also. I was fortunate enough to be invited to a private showing after hours and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit. Her exhibit is a five-decade memory map collection of her drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures. For those of you near modern art museums, be on the alert for a possible arrival of the exhibit where you live. It will be a sight you will really enjoy.

CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning

Summer will soon be upon us, and many may find time to be out on a motorboat. In the winter we think about carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning due to an auto running in a closed garage or some other gasoline engine being used indoors without thinking of the potential danger. Boats with enclosed cabins may also be a threat for CO poisoning, especially if you have an internal gasoline engine. Under very heavy throttle, the exhaust may leach back into the cabin. As a safety precaution, if you have a boat whose cabin is enclosed you may want to keep a small hatch open for cross ventilation. As just general information, CO concentration at its source for a gasoline engine is 10,000 to 100,000 PPM. Inhaling just 200 PPM may result in headaches within two to three hours. While very unlikely on a boat, but very likely in a closed room, 6,400 PPM may result in death within 15 minutes. Double that amount will result in death in less than three minutes. I don’t mean to be bringing negative information to you, but where there is potential danger, we simply need to be aware.

Migwetch for the honor of serving and representing District 3. I am honored that you trust me to represent your interests. If you have questions, I am just an email or phone call away.

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.

Potawatomi Clans

In my assortment of miscellaneous stuff, I recently found a small pamphlet that describes what constitutes a clan, and particularly a Potawatomi clan. I found this information to be very interesting as I am the descendant of two Great-Great-Grandfathers. Both were Potawatomi, but from what clan: Joseph N. Bourassa’s family was known to be of the Bear clan, while Lewis H. Ogee’s family was part of the Thunder clan.

What clan is my family? I get asked that question frequently. I must admit that I am not an authority on Citizen Potawatomi clans, but here is what I’ve learned from reading that small pamphlet.

Clans were normally formed around a particular family and related extensions, normally through marriage. Typically, the clan affiliation was from a common ancestor through the male line of the family. In some cases, the individual was linked to their mother’s father, which provided a wider network of kin to interact with as needed. This was also accentual as the clans were exogamous, meaning individuals could not marry a person of the same clan. Normally this resulted in the couple going to live with the husband’s clan. This intermarriage of the clans created links between different villages and these links were both reinforced and encouraged by trade and other bonds. These bonds existed not only within the Potawatomi clans but also with nearby related Ottawa (Odawa) and Chippewa (Ojibwe) villages.

Some of the Tribe’s oldest clans are the Bear, Bird, Crane, Deer, Fish, Loon and Marten.

  • Bear Clan members were the protectors of the people. They were war chiefs and warriors. As village protectors they also learned which roots, bark and plants could be used to treat the people.
  • Bird Clan represented the spiritual leaders of the people and gave the nation its well-being and its highest development of the spirit.
  • Origin of the Crane Clan comes from the sharp, piercing sound of the Crane. Clan members were recognized as famous speakers.
  • Deer Clan members were given the power of pacifists and were also known as poets and artistic people.
  • Fish Clan members were teachers and scholars and represented wisdom. They were also known for having a long life and baldness in old age.
  • The Loon Clan along with the Crane Clan were given the power of Chieftainship.
  • Marten Clan people were hunters, food gatherers and warriors. Members of the clan also served as pipe bearers and message carriers for the Chiefs.

For the most part, the original force and power of the clan system has diminished to a degree of almost non-existence. However, among some Potawatomi, the clan relationships are still held in high regard and are a matter of pride and respect. Clan symbols are sometimes still used on grave headstones to mark their lineage.

My Indian name Wetase Mkoh (Brave Bear), given to me by Chairman Barrett, recognizes my military career and for being a descendant of the Bear clan.

Upcoming CPN Elders’ Potlucks

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

March 8 | Corned Beef and Cabbage | RSVP by the 5th
April 12 | Goulash | RSVP by the 9th

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

Contact Information

If you are not receiving emails from me, it is because I do not have your current email address or what I have is incorrect. All you need to do is email me your email address.

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.


Good day to all. We’re going into our third month of 2024, in case you didn’t think about it. I still feel like I am on a sled headed down Mt. Everest.

This month has brought about personal life experiences with the veterans in our world that keep us safe. We always wish them health, wealth and happiness, but do we really realize what they have done for us and, further, what they continue to do?

My stepdad of 40-plus years, Virgil Balsley of Clearlake, California, brought this question to the forefront with his 100th birthday veteran prisoner of war status. You cannot help but wonder how many have been held captive and under the worst conditions imaginable with a heart full of willingness to protect us. The stories are sometimes gruesome, yet many stay silent about their experience.

Being Native American, I also started to research how many prisoners of war we have today and the Native community that held steadfast and true protecting this country. I have said many times “More Native Americans fought in WWII per capita than any other single group of American men and women.”

To bring that further home, I started to research those recorded in history and discovered the famous picture we see.

Corporal Ira Hamilton Hayes (Pima, 1923–1955) remains one of the best-known American Indians to serve in World War II. In 1945, Hayes was one of six servicemen who raised the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific — a moment captured in a celebrated photograph (Hayes appears on the far left).

Iconic black and white photo from the Battle of Iwo Jima featuring several U.S. soldiers raising an American flag.
Corporal Ira Hamilton Hayes, far left

We had many famous American Indians who gave up their lives as well.

Pascal Cleatus Poolaw Sr. served this country through three wars and gave up his life in Vietnam. Poolaw has been called America’s most decorated American Indian Soldier with 42 medals and citations. Among his medals are four Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars.

The Japanese had broken all the codes sent over the radio waves. The Marines were desperate to find a secure way to communicate vital information with precious little time. After several successful tests, the Navajo language was approved as a communication code.

There were other code talkers from other nations. Navajo was the most recognized because of a movie.

Native Americans from more than 50 tribes served in every military service during World War II, and in many roles supporting the war effort from the Home Front as well. (Image courtesy of the 45th Infantry Division Museum).

Row of 11 Native American U.S. service members wearing regalia.

American Indians made up about one-fifth of the 45th, including three who received the Medal of Honor: Jack Montgomery (Cherokee, 1917–2002), Van T. Barfoot (Choctaw, 1919–2012) and Ernest Childers.

Much of the information here has been taken from research through Wikipedia, Google and other sources. There is by far more than one could capture in a 600-word article. I highly recommend you take the time to look at our history and discover the pride and service we have dedicated to the United States of America in times of trouble even after the lack of acceptance of our ways.

There is a T-shirt you can find showing many natives gathered around the lands saying, “We always knew it was worth fighting for.” IT IS! SO VOTE.

In the meantime, we will pray we never have to go through another full-fledged war to maintain our democracy and self-determination.

Watch for invitations for the Arizona meeting in April, 2024. Love you all and please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist.

Personal Regards,

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 K. Payne
District 6

Headshot of CPN District 6 Legislator Rande Payne.

Bozho Nikanek (Hello friends),

Land comes in many forms. Developed, undeveloped. Inhabitable, uninhabitable. Occupied, unoccupied. But no matter what form, in today’s world, virtually every square foot of land has been laid claim to by someone.

We’ve heard land referred to as Mother Earth, giver of life. From it we were raised and to it we will return. She provides everything our earthly bodies need to survive. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, shelter, clothing, medicine, etc.

Our ancestors understood the value of land and many of them gave their lives to keep it. It was considered sacred and to be protected as an inheritance for generations to follow. From it all life flowed.

In the old world of our ancestors, life on earth was in balance. Sustainability wasn’t a buzzword or something to achieve. Everything was sustainable as it was. The idea of seven generations is the epitome of sustainability. Sustainability happened organically out of love and respect and out of relationship with the Creator.

The world we live in today is very different than the world of our ancestors. Many things have changed. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the value of land. And while the value of land hasn’t changed, the way we value it has. We must still take care of it and do our best to preserve all our natural resources. The value of land today is measured monetarily in dollars and cents. The United States is a very powerful country primarily because of the land it possesses or occupies. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can own land individually, corporately or as a Native American Tribe.

Some may question or misunderstand our Tribal leadership’s use of Tribal resources for the purpose of obtaining land. Yes, the land in Oklahoma that was given to us was perhaps in exchange for the land that was taken from us in the Great Lakes region, and it certainly makes no sense that we would have to buy land that was already given to us. But that’s where we are in the world today. I think we are doing the best we can to claw our way back to the powerful Nation we once were. Land ownership greatly improves our ability to ensure that we as a people will remain for generations to come.

The purchase of the Oklahoma City bank building was far more than just a sound financial decision. That purchase and the advantages it creates for us to compete in today’s world are enormous. Instead of paying rent to someone else for the space our bank occupies, we will now be paying ourselves and have complete control of that cost. And instead of us having to pay for the mortgage on the building by ourselves, we will have tenants that will pay rent, which reduces our overall cost and the amount of time to achieve outright ownership. At that point it is an enormous revenue center.

In the long run, it will only help to further increase our leverage to influence Oklahoma state legislation to benefit not only our Tribe but other Oklahoma tribes as well. And it seems that the attacks on our sovereignty just keep coming. Our ability to survive these challenges is greatly increased when we have the resources to fight back.

Hold closely the rich culture and knowledge our past generations have given us. Use them to guide us in our world today. Preserve them for the generations to come. This is how we remain. Joganoganan

Wisdom from the Word: “Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Deuteronomy 4:6

Nagetch (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),

Plans are currently underway for the Family Reunion Festival to be held In Shawnee again this year from June 28-30. The 2024 Honored Families are Darling, Hardin, Higbee, Levier, Lewis, Nadeau, Negahnquet, Pambogo and Smith. It is never too soon to secure rooms and travel for your trip to Shawnee. Some of the highlights of the festival are always the Hand Games on Friday night and in-person voting and the General Council Meeting on Saturday, along with the Grand Entry on Saturday evening where we honor our families and heritage. The arena has a dress code. Women should keep their legs and shoulders covered by wearing ankle-length skirts and a shirt that conceals the shoulders as well as carry a shawl, and men should wear slacks and a ribbon shirt. Everyone should wear moccasins or close-toed shoes and move clockwise around the arena. It would be great to start working on a set of regalia to wear during Grand Entry. Many classes and cultural events occur throughout the festival. More information can be found on the Tribal website at

Winters are always a time of change, as Mother Earth takes that first long drink of water after the long hot summer days out west, the grass and plants take on a deeper shade of green and some head off to take a nap waiting for spring. The fall calves grow fast as their mothers put on weight that will help sustain them when the long, hot summer returns. And the cycle of life continues just as it has since time immemorial. Including us humans, this month marks a year since the passing of my mother and a month since the passing of my brother Michael, a gentle and caring soul who led a simple life filled with love. A quote that I heard once and held onto was “In the passing of elders, we witness the chapters of wisdom closing, but their legacy remains etched in the hearts and minds of those they touched, guiding us forward with the light of their teachings.”

Once again, I would like to say what an honor it is to serve you as your District 7 representative. 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, jayek (Hello, everyone),

I hope this edition of the Hownikan finds all in District 8 healthy and doing well.
This is the dreary weather part of the year where everything looks a little dingy and some folks get depressed. Whenever I’ve traveled to Oklahoma and have complained about the heat, locals tell me that they couldn’t live in all the rain we get six months out of the year. Well, about mid-March, I get their point, however, the knowledge of the amazing spring and summer that is coming keeps you going.

This is a great time to plan for warm weather events. The last two years we have had a cook-out in Olympia mid-summer. It’s been well attended and a lot of fun, but I plan on taking the year off from that event and hitting the road east.

Please mark your calendars for Aug. 17 for Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We will be having a District 8 meeting at Landing’s Park. We will be having a mid-day meal, presentations and prizes.

The following day, Aug. 18, we will be having a similar event in Missoula, Montana, at Bonner Park. Both events will have a Potawatomi Art contest with prizes for best Native themed art piece in the categories of Fine Arts, crafts and 12 years of age and under.
There will be invitations going out and RSVP dates determined. However, I know how hard it is to plan for all the summer vacations, camping trips, etc. — so it’s good to get these dates on your calendar.

I am looking forward to seeing Potawatomi family in Oklahoma and at District meetings in 2024. Don’t forget that the Family Reunion Festival (pow-wow) is June 28 through June 30. Booking flights is never fun, and the sticker shock on the tickets is very real. The best hotels in the Shawnee area are the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn Express. When communicating with the Grand’s front desk, please be sure to tell them that you are visiting for the Family Festival.

On this theme of planning our gatherings, mid-October we will be having our Fall Feast in Portland, Oregon. I am working on the venue, so the exact date is still to be determined. It will be announced as soon as possible so folks can make their plans.

It is my honor to serve as your Legislator,

Dave Carney | Kagashgi (Raven) | | 360-259-4027

Paul Wesselhöft
District 9

Headshot of CPN District 9 Legislator Paul Wesselhoft.

Bozho, nikan (Hello, friend),


At my advanced age, human deaths surrounding me cause me to ponder my mortality and destination. As a Christian, I have confidence in my eternal destination. However, I have a problem letting go of mortality and this world. This brief life is the only one I have known. I don’t want the world to go on without me.

I view the world as God’s gift to me. I hope he is pleased that I appreciate his creation to its fullness. Christians are taught to live in this world but be spiritually orientated toward the next. Here’s my problem:

Despite all the pain and grief in the world, God still has created a great, exciting, mysterious and exploratory world, especially where I have lived and visited. This is the most amazing and extraordinary time in history to be alive.

God and humanity have created a wonderful and vibrant world in which to live. Despite setbacks, I have really enjoyed this life and the world around me. I find it difficult to let go of this world and all it offers. It’s difficult but fascinating to wonder about the wonders the next few decades will bring.

I want to see the good things artificial intelligence will bring us. There are delicious new foods I have yet to eat. I don’t want to miss all the new technological and medical inventions and discoveries. I don’t want to miss the next new car designs. I don’t want to miss high speed rail and the next generation of high-speed quantum computers. I don’t want to miss the cure for cancer. I don’t want to miss how my nation, with all her faults, will advance, prosper, and make great contributions to the world.

I don’t want to miss the prosperity my Native American nation will experience. I don’t want to miss the things my friends and relatives will do. I don’t want to miss the accomplishments and contributions my children will achieve after me. I don’t want to miss the championships my home team will experience. I don’t even want to miss my dog, Bravo, and all the play and intrigue he’s destined to pursue.

Perhaps I’m too secular. However, I very often dwell on the wonderful and glorious things God has created and promised for me in the next life. So, am I too worldly, too secular by admitting that I will sure miss this world? It’s hard to let go.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Paul Wesselhöft | Naganit (Leader) | |