John “Rocky” Barrett
Tribal Chairman

Headshot of CPN Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett

Bozho nikan, (Hello, my friend),

Our annual Family Reunion Festival is almost here.

If you haven’t been to CPN headquarters in a while, you are missing out on seeing some amazing progress. Construction of the new FireLake Hotel and Casino is underway with great rapidity and skill. My hat is off to Crossland Construction for the efficiency and quality of their work. The new casino will replace the current casino next to FireLake Discount Foods, which was built in the 1980s. It is nearly completely enclosed and ready for interior work.

When complete, the new three-story hotel will include 126 rooms. Also notice construction at the FireLake Ball Fields, where we are adding six new turf softball fields in the hopes of becoming a World Series destination for NCAA Division II and lower softball teams. All this is a reminder that your Tribe continues to grow and to thrive.

Each year, Festival coincides with the Annual Meeting of the General Council of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation on the last Saturday in June. At one point in our history, that one in-person meeting of the Nation was the only way any Citizen Potawatomi had to participate in our Tribal government. This changed much for the good when we altered our form of government from a pure democracy to a representative republic. Now, we elect representatives to our Tribal Legislature, which uses the internet to meet by digital conferencing, to regularly debate and vote on Tribal laws and regulations that affect us all. The annual General Council is held in memory of our past ways of governing and for the purpose of providing reports and information about the Nation in person.

Another important thing we often do at Festival is receive our Potawatomi name. If you want your Potawatomi name, present a small packet of tobacco to any Potawatomi that you know already has his or her name. Offer the tobacco to them and ask for a name. If that person takes the tobacco for use in your naming ceremony, a date and time will be set for the ceremony. You will receive your Potawatomi name, but you will also become a “namer” yourself, able to give names if you are asked and wish to perform the ceremony. I will show anyone who is named the way to do the ceremony or help anyone with their first naming. The Language Department will help you pick a name if you are a “namer,” and we also have a form for you to fill out that will help you think of or dream of a name that fits. Only the namer can choose the name, and only the namer can decide the time and place. If a namer returns your tobacco saying he or she cannot do as you ask, thank them and take your tobacco to another named person. I have been grateful to name over 300 people.

While you are here, you should also consider participating in one of our Heritage interviews at the Cultural Heritage Center. We originally started doing these videos with Tribal veterans and elders, but they are open to all Tribal members now. The intention is to capture the experiences of Tribal members from all walks of life in the hopes that family stories and traditions can be passed down to future generations. Interviews can be scheduled at

Of course, one of the most important things you can accomplish at Festival is to meet family you have never met before and to catch up with those you may not have seen in a long time.

It has been a great honor to serve in our Tribal government. Thank you for choosing me to serve as your Tribal Chairman. I look forward to seeing you all in June.

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),

My heart-felt compassion goes out to the people of Oklahoma and other states that have suffered personal and property loss during the recent treacherous weather pattern. Oklahoma has endured a total of 54 tornadoes during March, April and the first week of May of 2024, with various EF ratings, including at least one EF4. The Enhanced Fujita (Foo jeet uh) Scale Rating uses the EF abbreviation to measure tornadoes. This measurement method has been used by the National Weather Service since 2007. The EF rating system goes from F0 to F5, depending on the strength of the wind. Four Oklahomans, including a baby, have lost their lives during slightly over two months. According to the National Weather Service, tornados have caused damage in 38 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. (The tornado information may have changed by the time you read this column).

Columbarium update

The Niche Application Form for CPN’s Columbarium can be found on page 16 and 17 of this edition of the Hownikan. Hopefully, the content of this form will clear up the questions that numerous Tribal members have asked during calls to the Tribe. The calls and emails have resulted in an abundance of pleasant correspondence and conversations with Tribal members recently — members like Charles Green of Tennessee, inquiring about the inurnment of his mother’s cremated remains in the Tribe’s columbarium. As we visited, I discovered that Charles is the uncle to Kabl Wilkerson, former Potawatomi Leadership Program (PLP) student and language internship participant. Kabl, a Harvard student, is well-known within our Language Department and at the Heritage Center. Charles Green is equally as interesting a conversationalist as his nephew, so we visited a good while by phone. I look forward to the time when Charles, his sister Courtney, and her son Kabl can visit the Tribe for the inurnment of their mother and grandmother’s crematory remains.

The columbarium is a great reason to come home to your Tribe and visit a loved one’s memory at the same time. That is how Tribal member Dean Denton of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, feels. He and his wife, Donna, wish to be inurned in the CPN Columbarium someday. I truly enjoyed visiting with Donna about their final resting plans. Hopefully, that will not occur any time soon due to their diligent attention to a healthy lifestyle. They now understand that the application process for inurnment in the columbarium is intended only at the time of death.

Dean and Donna Denton (Photo provided)

The 76-year-old Denton stays active by walking 2 miles every day, rain or shine. In addition, he attends line dance classes three times a week taught by his wife (also 76) at the 55 Plus Activity Center in Bartlesville and at the American Legion in Talala, Oklahoma. They have discovered that line dancing is a fun way to get great cardio exercise. Donna says, “Any age can participate; you don’t need a partner; the music is amazing; and it is a wonderful mental exercise for the brain to focus on the steps that are being taught. It is good for the body, mind and soul!” I appreciate Dean and Donna for their positive attitude and good disposition. They can be complimented on their good health and robust exercise routine.

June is just around the corner! It will be Festival time soon. I hope many of you can travel to Shawnee to attend the Festival. It is a perfect time for you to see the columbarium, plus all the construction work that is in progress at the Nation. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your vice chairman for so many years. I truly love our Potawatomi people.

Migwetch (Thank you),

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

Eva Marie Carney
District 2

Headshot of CPN District 2 Legislator Eva Marie Carney.

Bozho, nikanek (Hello, friends),

June 8 beading class. District 2 resident and jewelry maker Sierra Waterman-Wells/Senajewen, will be teaching a brick stitch beading class from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2024. District 2 will be hosting folks at Saltbox, 4700 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia. It’s an interesting, shared office/warehouse space, part of which I lease for The Kwek Society. All materials will be provided at no charge; class size is limited to 15 and the minimum age for participation is 12 years old. I am accepting RSVPs now. I expect to run a waiting list and, if the class goes as well as I expect it will, there will be future opportunities to learn from and build your skills with Senajewen’s help.

Thank you for the invitation to District 1 Chicago meeting. Migwetch (thank you) to Alan Melot for his invitation to participate in District 1’s informative and fun meeting on April 6 in Chicago. It was terrific to see so many familiar faces, and to visit with fellow Potawatomi and family members.

Before the meeting, many Potawatomi gathered at the SW Michigan Avenue Bridge House to hear from District 1 citizen Sharon Hoogstraten about the monument titled Defense by Henry Hering. The monument depicts Potawatomi warrior Naunongee, Sharon’s direct ancestor, fighting in the Battle of Fort Dearborn.

Sharon is fighting to keep the monument intact (it is on the Chicago Monuments Committee’s list of monuments slated for removal), and to ensure the Potawatomi roots of Chicago are widely known. You can read more about that history, and Sharon’s efforts to reverse a decision to remove the monument depicting her ancestor, at

Family news. With sadness I share the news of two Potawatomi friends who recently walked on.

The first, Sheila Giwekwe Kelly, was a fellow District 2 citizen living in Florida (Greemore family). We travelled together to the 2017 Gathering hosted by Walpole First Nation and came home with memories for a lifetime. You can read on Sheila’s Facebook page a lovely remembrance and sketch of Sheila’s eventful life, shared by her aunt Marianne Welch.

Sheila Giwekwe Kelly and I at the Walpole-hosted 2017 Potawatomi Gathering

The second, Lyman Boursaw (Bourassa and Ogee families), was a dear gentleman and Citizen Potawatomi known to many. Lyman, a veteran and respected Citizen Potawatomi elder, carried our eagle staff in many grand entries, among other undertakings. I’m sharing a photo of him, with his brother, District 4 Legislator Jon Boursaw. I will miss Lyman’s smile and engaging conversation.

Lyman Boursaw with our eagle staff

May their memories be a blessing forever.

Please keep in touch and share family news when you can. In my June column I’ll share photos and a recap of our April 20 meeting in Rogers, Arkansas.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Eva Marie Carney | Ojindiskwe (Bluebird Woman) | | | | PO Box 5595 | Arlington, VA 22205 | Toll Free: 866-961-6988

Bob Whistler
District 3

Headshot of CPN District 3 Legislator Bob Whistler.

Bozho ginwa (Hello everyone),


In late March, we had the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore harbor damaged and six or seven on the bridge perished. It reminded me of a similar incident in Minneapolis/St. Paul several years ago where the bridge collapsed, and a number of automobiles went into the water with loss of life. Many owners of automobiles today do not realize that the windows are made of a very special glass that will not fracture and collapse. That is so you are not injured by flying glass in an accident. While this may be fine on the highway, it is all but a death trap if your vehicle becomes submerged in water. The electric windows won’t work. You need to think about this and have a plan. So, the actions you need to be prepared to take are as follows. Get your seat belt unbuckled as quickly as possible! Get the window rolled down or broken out! Next, get your children out of the car first (oldest to youngest)! Then yourself! This must be last, since once you leave the car, it will be almost impossible to return to assist others. Now that covers the SWOC (Seatbelts off, Windows open, Out immediately, Children first) area. In addition to your plan, you need a tool. There are several on the market that have a very heavy internal spring that will trigger a very sharp hardened point that will break your car window. I have been hearing of a number of them and they are around $30. I will be purchasing one for each of my autos and suggest you consider doing the same thing. If the time ever comes where it is needed, be glad you planned in advance on the order of actions to take and have the tool to help you at that important moment.

Texas Native Health

On March 22, I attended the opening and ribbon cutting of the new Texas Native Care facility. It happened that District 3 Tribal member Elisa Berger was also at the ceremony and she had a better photo of the ribbon cutting that I am submitting. The new facility encompasses 27,000 square feet compared to their recently small 7,000 square feet medical area. Texas Native Health is a non-profit organization providing services to Texas Native Americans for over 50 years. There are 233 CPN citizens, myself included in that number, who currently may use their services. In their smaller facility, the waiting time for some areas like dental had a one-year wait. They expect the new waiting time will be around three months. They offer: Primary Care, Dental Care, Diabetes Management, On-Site Pharmacy, Cultural and Educational Activities, Tuition Assistance and Career Training. For many CPN elders that meet certain requirements, CPN has a mail order medical prescription program. For those of you who are not eligible for the CPN plan and need help in affording medical prescriptions, and live in the Texas Native Care area, I suggest you check to see if they are able to provide you with their service. All services they offer are 100% free to members of all federal and state recognized tribes. They are located at 1283 Record Crossing Rd., Dallas, TX 75235. Their telephone number is 214-941-1050.

Texas Native Care celebrates the opening of a new facility with a ribbon cutting March 22.

My thanks to you for electing me to represent you in District 3. I am your voice and here to help. Please call or email me if there is an area where I may help you relative to our Nation.

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.

Flint Hills conference in Wichita

Dr. Blair Schneider and her students attended the Flint Hills Conference at Wichita State University on Saturday, March 23 to present the results of Abby Vaughn’s work at the Uniontown Cemetery. Abby has collected additional ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data and electrical resistivity data to try and determine if anyone is actually buried within the Bourassa enclosure. Abby collected the GPR in both North to South and East to West directions, which allowed us to create a 3D cube of data. No burial signatures were identified within the enclosure with either method. This is a case of having tomb stones from the 1860s and 70s and no graves. Stay tuned for the next episode.

New surveying in the search for site of Uniontown

Dr. Schneider, Scott Holzmeister, Blake Norton and I are now expanding site geophysical surveys to search for the town site of Uniontown. With landowner permission, Dr. Schneider’s students have begun a magnetic survey north of the cemetery in a hayfield. By the time this issue is printed they will have collected three-quarters of an acre of data with a magnetometer. Data processing and interpretation will occur over the summer, and then a pedestrian survey will be conducted over the same area in the winter when the grass is gone. More magnetic surveys are planned for winter and spring of next year. The goal of these surveys is to try and locate the remains of any burned buildings and/or structures to help identify the actual location of the old town site.

My Brother Lyman

As many of you know, my brother, Lyman, passed away in early April. Since we were seven and a half years apart we did not have a close relationship as brothers until I graduated from college and began my service in the Air Force. The years leading up to that were filled with his time in college followed immediately by his time in the Army. Of course, I saw him occasionally during holidays and family functions, but that changed when I entered active duty. He visited me when I stationed in Northern Ontario, Canada. Yes, we did play golf in a snowstorm in August. We also fished from a canoe on a rather large lake which we had all to ourselves. He visited again when I was in Washington, D.C., Kansas State University and again in California. But we only became truly close brothers when I moved back to Topeka 25 years ago. Although we knew we were enrolled in the Tribe, we knew very little about it, but that quickly changed. Together we expanded our knowledge of the Tribe’s history and the histories of our two tribal families. We also shared in conducting numerous Namings. But most important was our involvement as Tribal veterans. We have participated in countless Grand Entries not only in the CPN arena, but at numerous Gatherings throughout Potawatomi country. It won’t be the same entering an arena without him.

Lyman Boursaw

Upcoming CPN Elders’ Potlucks

The date for the next Elder Potluck held in Rossville at noon is:

June 14, 2024 Hamburgers and hot dogs RSVP by the 11th

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) | | 785-608-1982 | 2007 SW Gage Blvd. | Topeka, KS 66604 | 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),

You start to wonder what you can write about that will trigger thought or perhaps be helpful in someone’s life. One could say we are living in difficult times, regardless of your ethnicity.

Our countries, states and cities encompassing the family unit will tell you, it is confusing.

We are divided by our religious or spiritual beliefs, politics, culture, wealth and limitations as the list goes on.

Some of us exist pretending there is nothing happening that affects our small groups within.

Worst of it all, we sit back in fear waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Fear is the least of survival tools we could utilize, yet the station of most.

With fear the ability to make responsible decisions is turned off or at least muted. Now the power is easily obtained.

What can we do?

Stop looking at the big picture is my way. Not necessarily the right or best way, but mine.

The scenario goes like this; there is a roof over my head, I am not hungry, my children and I are healthy, and the shifting power in the world has been going on for over 500 years. I have done all I know to do so it is time to let go.

The Creator will decide our world’s future and it is much too big a picture for me to even think about.

If we all just take care of ourselves, friends and neighbors it can change the world.
There are many worlds existing within the one world and you can only contribute to the one you live in.

What that means is the good Lord has taken care of us all these years and I have no reason to think it will stop happening in the way he sees best.

Fear is the lack of trust in the Creator.

So, when you feel that coming on, just check your link and reactivate.

Hopefully you don’t think I am being condescending. Truth is I am rekindling my own personal concerns sometimes.

To not know leads to confusion.

Just stay in the moment as that is life itself.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to make your path easier.

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 K. Payne
District 6

Headshot of CPN District 6 Legislator Rande Payne.

Bozho Nikanek (Hello friends),

It’s mid-April here in the Golden State and the hills are still quite green. Late season rain has helped delay the inevitable drying that turns our state golden brown. The cooler temperatures and bonus moisture have been a welcome occurrence as those hot sunny days will be here soon enough.

I want to remind you of a few dates that you may want to take note of. The summer semester Tribal Scholarship Program application period that opened March 15 closes June 15. The fall semester application period opens July 15 and closes Sept. 15. The Tribal Scholarship Program provides financial assistance for payment of tuition for Tribal members pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. Enrolled CPN tribal members who complete the application by the deadline and meet criteria will be eligible to receive up to $2,000 (full-time status) or $750 (part-time status) per semester. Information and applications can be accessed through

On Saturday, June 1, we will be in Temecula for a gathering. On the agenda are updates on Tribal enterprises, services and benefits. There will also be a cultural presentation on Seven Generations, Seven Grandfather Teachings and the Seven Fires Prophecy. The gathering is being held at the Temecula Community Center located at 28816 Pujol Street. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided. To register go to Space is limited to 75 people so if you haven’t already registered, do it soon!

Our Family Reunion Festival is just around the corner. The Festival runs from June 28 to the 30. Festival is a celebration of Native culture for the Potawatomi. The Festival is for CPN members and their immediate households (spouses and those dependents living in the home of the Tribal member). Activities include Grand Entry, cultural classes, a dance contest and General Council. Tribal elections are decided during the Family Reunion Festival. In-person voting is available as well as an opportunity to have your Potawatomi story video recorded for the archives. The Eagle Aviary is also open for tours during Festival. There is something for everyone!

The 2024 Gathering of Potawatomi Nations is July 31 to Aug. 3. The Pokagon Band in Dowagiac, Michigan, is this year’s host Nation. The Potawatomi Gathering provides an opportunity for Bodéwadmi people from across North America to come together for language and cultural demonstrations, recreational activities, meals, socializing and a powwow. The tribal councils and service programs from the various Potawatomi bands will also meet to discuss business and issues affecting Potawatomi communities across the U.S. and Canada. The idea for the Gathering began over 20 years ago when Potawatomi leaders recognized they had been separated for too long and needed to come together to share experiences, ideas and to reconnect as family. It has grown into a multi-day event attended by several thousand Neshnabék annually. Hosted by a different band every year, this will be the fourth time Pokagon Band has served as host. Details and registration can be found at

It is my great pleasure to serve as your Representative. I would like to wish everyone a great spring into summer! I hope to see you at a Potawatomi event soon!

Potawatomi Word of the Month: Wij — Together

Wisdom from the Word: “So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.” 1 Corinthians 11:33

Jagenagenan (All my relations)…

Migwetch! Nagetch (Thank you! Later),

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

Dave Carney
District 8

Headshot of CPN District 8 Legislator Dave Carney.

Bozho nikan, (Hello friend),

Spring has sprung in District 8! Daffodils and tulips seem to be everywhere as is the sound of lawn mowers and pressure washers.

I’ve purchased my plane tickets for the Potawatomi Family Reunion Festival in Oklahoma and I hope many of you have too. The Family Reunion Festival (pow-wow) is June 28 through June 30 this year. As we have gathered together locally over the last few years, I generally ask if folks have ever attended it. I am always glad to see just how many have, and I’d encourage those who haven’t gone to consider it one year — perhaps the year that your founding family is being honored. For a list of the honored family by year, go to

If you are planning your summer activities, consider coming to one of these regional events:

Aug. 17, 2024 — Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Aug. 18, 2024 — Missoula, Montana

Generally, we have some Citizen Potawatomi presentations that I hope are educational, a presentation of prizes to honor the wisest and youngest enrolled Tribal members, a Native American art contest and a meal. If there is an interest, we may put together a private Naming ceremony after one or both of these events. If you plan on attending and would like to get more information on all that involved in asking for and receiving your Potawatomi name, please contact me directly at This must be pre-arranged far in advance.

I am planning on a return trip to Alaska in the summer of 2025. I’ve been up there a few times and I am always impressed with the natural beauty and uniqueness of the area. One summer I hosted a cookout at a Tribal citizen’s home in the evening and planned on showing an outside PowerPoint presentation. I’d forgotten that it did not get dark — oops! Time to regroup and switch to plan B!

Of the many Tribal citizens I’ve connected with in Alaska, several will update me on how their children are doing with educational and vocational goals. Recently, Heather Cortez of Anchorage updated me on her daughter, Veronica, who was just accepted into the Ascend Pilot Academy, which is a 10 to 12 month flight training program. This is a collaboration between Alaska Airlines and Hillsborough Aero Academy (Redmond, Oregon). The successful completion of this program will put Veronica on the path to her ultimate goal — to become an airline pilot with Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. I love this news for several reasons — female Tribal citizen reaching her goals and representing our Tribe and our district! Congratulations Veronica!

Veronica Cortez

If you reside in District 8 and do not receive e-mails from me, please reach out with your contact information. District 8 citizens in the eastern part of the district especially!

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),


Buffalo, Bovine,
Big, black, brown, broad,
Stand tall, stand muscular.

These created creatures,
The largest on America soil,
Are sacred to Native Americans.
The survival of Indigenous people
Depended upon them.

Traveling in herds,
These nomadic beasts kicked up dust clouds
With their thundering hoofs.
Medicine men prayed to find them.
Plains tribes migrated along with them.
Hunted by Indians for daily food,
Their skin for teepees,
Their hides for water bags, beds, blankets,
Coats and drums.
Their horns were crafted into tools, spoons,
Their hoofs into baby toys,
Their skulls into ceremonial regalia,
Their bones into knives, their sinews into bowstrings.
Around fire pits, Indians dance, sing,
Celebrating their existence.
Bison were sacred to the Indian.

Then white men conquered the Great Plains
Killing over 50 million bison mostly for sport,
And to deprive Indians of meat for survival,
Driving Indians onto controlled reservations.
Government paid bounty to have bison killed.
Buffalo Bill alone killed over four thousand in a year.

In train cars, men fired rifles from roofs, windows.
From horseback bison were shot.
If not killed, they were wounded to suffer.
Bloody bison were left on the prairie to rot in the hot sun.
Their foul stench filled the air.
Their spoiled meat feed flies, vultures.
Only a few hundred survived the onslaught.
Bison were not sacred to the white man.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Paul Wesselhöft | Naganit (Leader) | |

Andrew Walters
District 11

Headshot of CPN District 11 Legislator Andrew Walters.

Bozho (Hello),

Later in the day on March 16, my neighbor, John, and I were huddled up where our fences meet talking about the flora and fauna of Oklahoma and how he wants to landscape his yard with some trees called “Texas Lilacs.” John is fairly knowledgeable about plants and animals, and I was listening with rapt attention.

I don’t know the exact time, but we had almost finished our discussion when suddenly a loud bang blanketed the field. It was so loud that it pushed the birds out the trees and started my attention to be turned to roadway that runs north to south in front of the house. There I saw a white car lift from the pavement and fly into the corn field on the west side of the road while another car kept going straight north at a fair clip. Then came the sound of metal falling on the road and radiators hissing. Well… John had his truck close, so we jumped in and rode over to the apparent accident. The white car was owned and occupied by a little couple I’d judge to be in their mid-to-late 80s. Farm folk through and through. The missus was a little banged up but the husband was large and in charge. The other car, the one that went down the road, was driven by a good-lookin’ kid. About 21 and way taller than my 6-foot frame, respectful and scared. He was concerned about the folks in the other car. I talked to him a bit and noticed he had beer on his breath. His little puddle-jumper was pretty wadded up. I doubt if the paper tags on it will ever be replaced by metal ones. The Sheriff came as did the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. It was determined that the one boy had been drinking and he was cuffed up and taken to jail. The older folks in the other car were both transported to the hospital and both cars towed.

This whole thing started me thinking. With Spring Break coming up and then the end of school and the start of summer, a lot more young folks are going to make “bad decisions” that may cost them their careers, their health, their life, their friends lives, or just someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time getting killed. Now I called it a “bad decision” and I can buy that idea… once. That first DWI will cost them, but if they do what they should, they’ll get past it. The second, third, fourth and more… that’s not a bad decision… that’s a problem. And unfortunately, that’s what jails are for… and sometimes funeral homes. For me the whole experience brought back really bad memories of really bad things I’ve had to do as a Police Officer. Going to hospitals, notifying families that their kids won’t ever come home again.

So with these thoughts, could I ask… y’all be careful. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive like your tail end is on fire. Be careful. The leading cause of death for folks under 25 is accidents. Our Tribal Youth are so very important to us. The Tribal Youth is our future. The carriers of our traditions and ways. We can’t afford to lose even one to a senseless act. And no family wants to mourn the passing of a child. So please, take care. Be responsible. And come to Festival… please.

Bami pi (Until later),

Andrew Walters | |