John “Rocky” Barrett
Tribal Chairman

Headshot of CPN Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett

Bozho nikan, (Hello, my friend),

It is time to welcome everyone back for the Family Reunion Festival 2024.

There is nothing better than seeing everyone enjoy each other while celebrating our shared culture. More than any other time, we all become family. Tribal leaders, along with our employees and local Tribal members, work hard to make sure the annual event gets better each year.

After last year’s Family Reunion Festival, a planning group gathered to discuss items that were important to continue and others that needed to be improved before this year’s big gathering.

One of the most notable changes is the expansion of hours for you to register when you arrive.

This year, registration hours at FireLake Arena will be:

  • Thursday – 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday – 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Saturday – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Important Request:

During registration hours, there will be a booth for our Citizen Potawatomi Nation Health Services to help sign up new patients. It is vital that you register your Potawatomi family with our medical system! Here is why:

Our access to Indian Health Service federal funding is dependent on how many active patients we serve in central Oklahoma. If you and your enrolled family are not signed up as active patients, we lose medical services money!

Chris Skillings and our medical professionals work every day to improve access to and the quality of the medical services we provide. They are working hard to make sure every patient can see top notch doctors quickly to improve health outcomes for all Tribal members in our service area. If you haven’t already, signing up to be a new patient during your time at this year’s Festival is a Tribal duty! Please help your people to have the best medical services we can provide.

Another important part of every Festival is the Tribal election. This year, Election Committee staff is spending extra time to make sure the voting booths are in good shape and work for our voters. We also noted a minor error on the annual budget ballot. During the printing process, a number was left off the total in one place on the ballot. We have notified voters in several ways. If you have any questions, you can contact any of our election officials or anyone in the Public Information Department.

We also want our people to be more comfortable while they are on the reunion grounds. June in Oklahoma can be quite warm. Depend on it! In past years, a few locations have had misters to help people cool off. Those areas have become so popular that we decided to add even more this year. It is important to us that everyone is safe and comfortable during your visit and this should help.

We also heard many reports that our meat cooker near the pavilion created enough smoke that people trying to enjoy meals were made uncomfortable. Our employees have already begun the process to move the cooker to a new spot where the smoke won’t be as much of a problem. While they are moving the cooker, they are also repairing the awning to make sure it will serve the Tribe for years into the future.

There are also plans to hold lacrosse and stickball demonstrations and there is a new cornhole competition at the Mini Putt Building to add to the fun.

As always, we look forward to seeing everyone at the Family Reunion Festival.

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),

One program at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation that is long-standing, but little known to the public outside of families seeking assistance for their young children, is our Women, Infants and Children program or WIC. What is WIC, who qualifies and how does a family apply for services? The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition education, supplemental food, healthcare referrals and breastfeeding support to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five.

The WIC Program is a short-term resource for some of the country’s most vulnerable populations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides grants to WIC state agencies (typically in the Department of Health or Human Services) to administer the program. WIC state agencies in turn recruit and approve local agencies (typically health entities that provide pediatric and obstetric care) to provide health services and nutrition education to clients.

WIC is available in all 50 states, 34 Indian Tribal Organizations, American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In fiscal year 2022, WIC served about 6.3 million participants each month, including an estimated 40 percent of all infants in the United States. The WIC Program was last reauthorized in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This act authorizes funding for not only WIC, but also funding for federal school meals and child nutrition programs. It increases access to healthy food for low-income children. The bill that reauthorizes these programs is often referred to as the child nutrition reauthorization bill.

Eligibility for WIC includes women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have recently given birth and infants and children up to the age of five. Applicants must have income at or below an income level or standard set by the state agency in which they live. For example, in Oklahoma the household size and maximum income level per year is $27,861 for one person; $37,814 for two people; $47,767 for three people; $57,720 for four people, etc. Another method by which to calculate eligibility is by multiplying the annual federal poverty guideline by 1.85 (185 percent) and rounding the results upward to the nearest dollar amount. There is no gross income limit in Oklahoma for homes with a household member who is 60 years of age (or older) or who has a disability. In addition, if you receive Medicaid, SNAP or TANF, you are automatically eligible for WIC benefits.

WIC was established in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, in 1974. This year is the 50th anniversary of the program’s service to millions of families throughout the United States and its territories. I am not surprised that the Citizen Potawatomi Nation was close behind 1974 in forming our own WIC program in January of 1979, representing 45 years of dedicated service to WIC families. Director Shelley Schneider has been with CPN’s WIC program for 37 of those years. Congratulations to Mrs. Schneider for her years of service to the surrounding area. Her staff is outstanding, with some of them serving the Tribe for over 20 years. CPN’s WIC program represents thousands of women, infants and children that have benefited from this healthy, nutritional program.

Cheryl Richardson works for Mrs. Schneider as the Nutrition and Breastfeeding Coordinator. She oversees the BabyMobile, which comes to the WIC program service area on a regular basis. The program serves children from birth to 3 years old. An ad is included in this article that gives information about the BabyMobile. For Oklahoma residents with questions about the application process for WIC, please call 1-888-OKLAWIC (1-888-655-2942).

Flyer for Infant Crisis Services' BabyMobile July 2, 2024, visit to the CPN WIC program between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Thank you for letting me serve as your vice chairman.

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),

This article should be in the June issue of the Hownikan, your Tribal publication. As the CPN annual Festival is always the last weekend in June, let this serve as an additional invitation for you to attend. If you have never been able to attend the Festival, then you have been missing out on a great four days of opportunities to more closely associate with your Tribal Nation. I realize that schedules are fully packed with many obligations and that many of our members live far from the reservation, but if you are able to attend I believe that you would greatly appreciate the experience that you would have. The CPN staff creates a full slate of activities to both entertain and enlighten you. Speaking of the CPN staff, our employees are simply the best and the effort that they put into making our Festival first rate every year is amazing. We could not have a Festival of this proportion if it were not for the CPN employees.

There are many reasons to attend but let me mention a few. Firstly, we have a meeting of the General Council. The General Council is comprised of all of the members of the Nation and we will convene on Saturday afternoon for a presentation of the current events of the Tribe and the annual financial update. Since this is also the weekend where both absentee and live ballots are cast for the appropriate elected officials and budget items, the Council meeting is where the results of those elections are announced and the winning candidates are sworn in. The right to vote is a tremendous responsibility and I encourage everyone to exercise that right. Exercising our rights establishes the legitimacy of our government and us as a sovereign people. We must continue to exercise our rights so that the Citizen Potawatomi Nation endures throughout time, giving future generations the opportunities that we currently enjoy.

There will be many different opportunities to learn about our Tribe, such as touring the Cultural Heritage Center and seeing the many displays from our history when we lived in the Great Lakes area up to our removal to Kansas and our eventual reservation in Oklahoma. You can attend classes on beading, moccasin making and other crafts. The CPN Aviary will also conduct tours where you can observe, at close range, the bald eagles that are so important to the Potawatomi. You will also want to pay a visit to our language education group where you will discover many resources to learn about our native language. Perhaps speaking our language has limited opportunities in the outside world, but it is of vital importance to maintaining our culture for future generations. Our veterans’ group will be present and will lead everyone in at Grand Entry Saturday evening. Our people have always bravely fought in the Armed Services, and we are immensely proud of their sacrifice.

There will be a lot of construction going on during this year’s Festival, and that indicates how the Nation must keep moving forward to continue to provide the services to our people. We must perform better each year financially so that we may continue to serve our people in need. This is a tremendous responsibility that every one of your elected officials shares. The recent trends in an accelerated inflation curve have created a challenging environment financially for the Tribe as you have no doubt experienced in your own personal lives. The Nation has performed very well financially, even in this environment. Investing in our business units at the Nation is a necessary component of that future success.

I truly hope that you will be able to share in this year’s Festival. If you cannot attend, please visit our website and take part in whatever you can and be involved with your Tribe. I thank you again for allowing me to be your Secretary/Treasurer and I continue to commit to act in the Nation’s best interest for its people. 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, jayek (Hello, everyone),

I hope you are all well. It was good to see everyone who was able to make it to our Chicago meeting, and I sure appreciate Sharon Hoogstraten and District 2 Legislator Eva Marie Carney sharing their hearts and work with us. Meeting in downtown Chicago has definite challenges, but it was a real privilege to visit and meet at the very place where Potawatomi defended our lands so many years ago.

Group photo in front of a carved stone monument.
Chicago meeting attendees at the sculpture of Chief Naunongee
District 1 Legislator Alan Melot shakes hands with a Tribal member wrapped in a Pendleton blanket.
D1 Legislator Alan Melot presents Dennis Marquis, the wisest in attendance, with a blanket
at the April meeting in Chicago

Our annual Festival in Oklahoma is upon us, and I Iook forward to meeting you there and visiting with you if you are able to make it. Last year as I walked through our campgrounds, someone pointed me out and told their kid, “There’s one of the people who runs the Tribe!” That was kind of a grounding moment for me, and I felt more of the weight of being an elected official who is tasked with representing you within our government. I often think of our ancestors, and moments like that really bring it home. I have a wide variety of characters in my ancestry, both villains and heroes. This past weekend, my parents were talking about family members who have walked on, and the ones we celebrate are the ones who were generous, had wisdom and lived with integrity and love. These are qualities that I have cultivated in my own life and that I hope are evident as I work to represent your concerns in our Tribal government.

You may notice that the proposed budget looks different than in years past, and I am quite proud of this update. I asked our legislature to consider some additions earlier in the year to update the proposed budget to reflect current priorities. One priority I had was the Potawatomi Trail of Death Association, but it was agreed that funding for that should go through different channels.

When I ran for office, #LandBack was a priority for me; we don’t have the infrastructure in place to support land acquisitions in D1, so I’ve felt a bit defeated on that issue. Vice-Chairman Linda Capps brought this up as an interest of hers recently and I was excited and was immediately on board to move this financial priority to the forefront of the Nation.

We (the legislature) updated this budget, which now includes a significant amount of money to purchase land that is in the boundaries of the Nation. Land in Oklahoma isn’t Great Lakes Potawatomi ancestral homeland, but it is Citizen Potawatomi homeland; I’m all for buying as much of it as we can, to return it to ourselves for use as we please. It’s #LandBack in the only way we are currently positioned for, and I’m both proud of and fully supportive of this budget.

If you live in the eastern parts of our district, start planning to attend a meeting in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the first part of October. Details aren’t all worked out yet, but I’m working with Amanda Funk to make it happen in her neck of the woods. I’ll be excited to travel further east and meet some new faces!

Until then, reach out in all of the usual ways if I can help or if you just want to chat. 

Bama Pi! (Later)

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),

June 8 beading class

District 2 resident and jewelry maker Sierra Waterman-Wells/Senajewen, taught a brick stitch beading class from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2024. District 2 hosted 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 were provided at no charge; class size was limited to 15 and the minimum age for participation was 12 years old.

District 2 Rogers, Arkansas meeting.

Migwetch (thank you) to all who attended our meeting April 20. I’ve included a group photo documenting our gathering; what isn’t captured are the strong family feelings and the various kindnesses extended to each other that day. Folks were surprised and pleased that Chairman Rocky Barrett made the 3.5-hour drive to attend the meeting and they welcomed District 1 Legislator Alan Melot who travelled from Missouri to be with us. Our wisest attendee was Sheila Hill (Smith Family) and our farthest travelled was Dave Hill, from Hot Springs Village, Arkansas (likewise a 3.5-hour drive). Our youngest attendee, Atri (Anderson Family), brought joy to the meeting and was a true gentleman — after a couple hours he needed to get home for a nap but made sure to go over and shake Chairman Barrett’s hand before exiting. Igwien (heartfelt thanks) to Alan and Paula Johnson (Wilmette Family), and their family members, for so ably hosting us.

Please know that all are welcome to attend District 2 meetings if you can make the trip!

Group photo in a large grassy area.
District 2 Meeting Attendees, Rogers, Arkansas, April 20, 2024
A young child reaches for a blanket being handed to them while others look on.
Delighted onlookers as Atri receives his gift blanket

Book report.

I recently picked up an interesting memoir, Thinning Blood: A Memoir of Family, Myth, and Identity, by Leah Myers. Her memoir opens intriguingly with —

No one taught me to be Native American. My mother taught me that I was, but she did not have the context for what that heritage meant. My grandmother mentioned it very little, even though it was visible in her features. Yet from my earliest memories, being Native has always been an integral part of my identity. Even though I was raised far from my tribe, far from any tribe, I heard the drumbeat of our traditions in my heart. My name is Leah Kallen Myers. I am the last member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in my family line.

I’m looking forward to diving into the book — let me know what you think of it if you do, too!

Family news.

Congratulations to District 2’s Luke Ziegler/Mnomdwedebanat, who graduated May 6, 2024, with a Ph.D. in Instructional Technology from Georgia State University. Luke’s dissertation focused on the relationship between culturally responsive teaching and instructional technology among teachers of American Indian students in the 2019 National Indian Education Study. Luke expects to take a postdoctoral research position at Georgia State, focused on using generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. He shared that his goal is to use his academic career to support American Indian education and amplify Native voices and that this postdoc opportunity would afford him expertise in leveraging AI in education for Native students.

I first met Luke in September 2009, in connection with a Ziegler family naming ceremony held in North Carolina. His grandfather Carl Ziegler/Numat walked on in 2013 and his memory is a blessing to many.

Please keep in touch and share family news when you can.

Hand Games participation.

I look forward to seeing folks during our Family Reunion Festival; contact me if you are interested in participating in our District 2 Hand Games Team during the Friday night of Festival!

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),

D3 Meetings

There was a meeting on Saturday, May 18, 2024, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Emerald Beach Hotel, in Corpus Christi, Texas.

On Saturday, April 20, a District 3 meeting was held in Tyler, Texas, at the Historical Aviation Memorial Museum located at the Tyler airport. Due to very heavy rain that day we had a number of cancellations. At the meeting I covered changes that are taking place with our Nation in Shawnee in 2024 with completion in 2025 as well as a change that will commence in 2025 and be completed in 2026. My presentation included information on our new Sovereign Bank building in Oklahoma City and our new manufacturing facility, Sovereign Pipe Technologies, at our Iron Horse Industrial Park.

Our Eldest, Bill Klotz, was presented with a saddle blanket. Our youngest and also the same person who drove the furthest from Shawnee was Cole Capps. Cole was given a small blanket for being the youngest and a coffee cup for driving furthest. We were very fortunate to have Vice-Chairman Linda Capps in attendance.

Vice-Chairman Linda Capps, District 3 Legislator Bob Whistler, and two Tribal members stand for a photo in a meeting room.
Cole Capps, Linda Capps, Bill Klotz and Bob Whistler

The craft I chose for this meeting was a small wooden loom to make a pad for possibly a coffee cup. The loom was partially strung to allow them to get off to a good start with the weaving. I chose to do this with the kit I made to save some time and be sure the loom was setup properly from the start. They had the strung loom, yarn, a plastic needle and a straw that assists with the weaving. I am including a photo of a finished pad on the loom.

Wooden loom with a small cloth woven out of colored yarn.
Finished pad

1,300 to 130 acres

The second treaty of Prairie du Chien was approved by the U.S. Senate in February 1831. This treaty allowed individuals to settle permanently and legally in specified areas. Prairie Band Chief Shab-eh-nay and his band settled in a 1,300-acre area in Illinois. While visiting friends in Kansas in 1849, the federal government declared the land abandoned and sold the land through public auction. That land legally still belongs to the Prairie Band Nation. In recent years, the Prairie Band has been buying land in that same area of Illinois. On April 19, the recent 130 acres now owned in Illinois was put in trust through the Department of Interior. This resulted in the state of Illinois now having them as the only federally-recognized Native American tribe. They are to be congratulated on their persistence in regaining their presence on the land they once occupied.

Festival Backpacks

When you get your backpacks at the Family Reunion Festival this year the language department plans to include a sheet that has various word/phrase areas. It will include Getting to Know Someone, Weather, Food and Miscellaneous. Our director, Justin Neely, and his group put together the means to hear each language phrase on your cell phone by including a QR code on the page. Please go online on your phone if you don’t have a QR reading application and download it. This will help you learn our language even easier. It is great to see that our staff continues to come up with ways to help us in different areas such as this example.

I hope to see many of you at Family Reunion Festival later this month. Be sure to say hello. In the meantime, thank you for the honor of representing you for District 3.

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.

Peggy and I, along with Lyman’s daughter, Nicole Boursaw Lux and her husband Tony, want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to those individuals who have expressed their sympathy and compassion, in person or by mail, regarding the loss of my brother, Lyman.

We were fortunate to be able to hold a Celebration of Life for Lyman in the CPN Community Center in Rossville. Chairman Rocky Barrett, Vice-Chairman Linda Capps and Housing Director Scott George, along with a large group of relatives, friends, and Tribal members, were in attendance. Chairman Barrett smudged the attendees prior to offering sincere comments and personal reflections about Lyman. The attendees were also honored to have Scott George sing a beautiful Native American song in the Osage language, which he had composed.

In the front of the room next to the podium was a small table containing a very striking handmade drum, a beautifully decorated box containing the U.S. flag, and a magnificent wooden box containing Lyman’s ashes. Next to the table was an Eagle Staff adorned with the head of a bald eagle, badges of the U.S. military services and multiple eagle feathers. All four items were handmade by my cousin, Joe Wulfkhule, truly a skilled craftsman, and yes, an artist.

The plans are for Lyman’s ashes to be inurned in the Tribe’s recently finished columbarium in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Upcoming CPN Elders’ Potluck: No Potluck in July

Two activities during the Family Reunion Festival

During the festival we are planning to have two activities on the calendar. They are:

On Saturday morning, June 29, I will be joined by Tribal member Scott Holzmeister and Dr. Blair Schneider, Ph.D., from the Kansas Geological Survey in the Long Room in the Cultural Heritage Center where we will give a presentation on what we have found at the Uniontown Cemetery. We will have photos and maps of what we have discovered at the cemetery and then discuss what we propose to accomplish in the coming months.

You may recall that last September the participants on the Potawatomi Trail of Death were treated to a breakfast at Heritage Park near Olathe, Kansas, hosted by the Johnson County Parks Department. During that event the Parks Department staff introduced their plans to have a permanent art exhibit at the trail marker in Heritage Park. That plan has progressed to the point where the final three proposed art exhibits will be available for your viewing during the Festival in the Cultural Heritage Center. After you have viewed the proposed exhibits, you will be asked which one you like the best. Your input will be important in the final decision as to which one of the proposed exhibits will be selected. Please take the time to view the exhibits and enter your selection.

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),

After years of requesting a return meeting to the Phoenix Zoo, we finally made it back. It only took 20 years. Lots of new faces and many old friends and family but not as many children as I expected.

Last year we did the petting zoo and boarded a train, which unfortunately is no longer available due to insurance issues.

We met at the Butterfly Pavilion in Colorado years ago and we had an entire classroom of 30 children in attendance. They were so excited waiting for the moment to see all the butterflies. It was great watching all the well-behaved little Potawatomi.

These are great meetings and designed to bring the next generation in. We want them to have positive remembrances and choose to attend CPN gatherings or meetings as adults and bring their children.

Scott Holmeister gave a presentation on the work that has been going on in Kansas while assisting John Boursaw, the legislator for that district, in upgrading the neglected gravesites of our people. It is exhilarating to see and heartening to know the years of neglect are over.

Our ancestors must be pleased to know the gratitude we share for all they went through so we would survive and they could be buried with dignity.

There were eight or nine kachinas at every table and a drawing for first choice after a wonderful picnic-style luncheon was served. The ticket drawing assistant was served by our youngest, Peter Daniels.

Thanks and kudos to Shelby Silver, Joshua, and of course, Gabby for the wonderful service and bringing it all together for us.

As usual we had our acknowledgements for our youngest, Peter Daniels, 9 years old, from the Melot family. The distance was won by Suzanne Brown from the Toupin family and, of course, our wisest went to Joy Esch, 82 years old, from the Navarre family.

I am going to have to admit the photos did not come out clear enough to print in the magazine article and I am so sorry. Promise to do better next time.

Just as a side note, did anyone notice or hear about the baby white buffalo born on April 24, 2024? I understand another was born in Texas close to the same time.

Google will have to catch up on the dates and times of the white buffalo. I was shocked to see what it said. Not accurate. Maybe by the time this comes out they will have updated the information.

This means better times are on their way according to legend and the white buffalo woman. You can find these stories very quickly online. We did have four white buffalo being cared for in Sedona, Arizona, but have since been moved to Oregon. This is a fascinating legend I wrote about years ago and I am still fascinated by it.

Hopefully we will get to see a lot of you at the Family Reunion Festival the last week of June and enjoy relatives, friends and all the exciting new projects at home. I love it!

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be sure to say “I love you” to those you care about. Don’t think they already know. We all need to hear it sometimes.

Your legislator,

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

Mark Johnson
District 7

Headshot of Mark Johnson, District 7 incumbent

Bozho nikanek (Hello friends),

A whole year has passed since the last Family Reunion Festival in Shawnee, and it is always a great time to visit with family and friends. I hope to see many of you in Shawnee. This year’s dates are June 28 through June 30. The Honored Families for 2024 are Darling, Hardin, Higbee, Levier, Lewis, Nadeau, Negahnquet, Pambogo and Smith. It is also important that you cast your vote in every Tribal election, so if you requested an absentee ballot, please remember to hurry and return it — your vote is still important — and make sure your family across our Nation votes also.

If you have never attended a Family Reunion Festival, or if it has just been a while, you should plan on attending, especially if you are among the Honored Families. It will be a trip you will never forget and will bring you much closer to your tribal family and heritage. It will also give you the chance to see our history in living color at our Tribal Cultural Heritage Center and meet relatives from all over our Nation.

Many craft classes are taught at the Heritage Center during the Festival, and you can take a tour of the Eagle Aviary also. Games and sports are also held throughout the gathering. If you are an artist, you can also enter the Tribal art competition with the winners announced at the General Council meeting on Saturday of the Festival, along with the Grand Entry dancing later that evening. More information and the schedule of Honored Families through 2028 can be found on the Tribal website at

I look forward to seeing you all at the Family Reunion Festival. My number is listed below if you would like to meet and talk while you are there.

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 nikan, (Hello friend),

I hope everyone reading this is enjoying their summer. Some of you may even be reading this while attending the 2024 Family Reunion Festival, and hopefully having a great time.

If you are planning your summer activities and don’t plan on braving the heat of Shawnee, Oklahoma, consider coming to one of these regional events in the Northwest:

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

We will have presentations, prizes, an art contest and food. Invitations will be in the mail shortly.

If there is an interest, we may have a Naming ceremony immediately following the meeting. In order to receive a Potawatomi name, I would need to speak or correspond with you at least a month in advance of the actual day, so if you are considering it, please contact me at I will provide some information on what I have learned about the significance of the ceremony and gather some information from you in order to arrive at an appropriate name with the help of the language department.

While on the topic, I would like to request something from those I have had the honor to name in the past or those who received a Potawatomi name from another Tribal member in District 8. Please e-mail me with your English name, Tribal ID number, your Potawatomi name and roughly when and where you were named. Historically, I would send names to Tribal Rolls to have them added to the Citizen’s ID. I have recently learned that this did not always occur, and I’d like to rectify that.

I have had an opportunity to speak with citizens of different tribes around the country about their naming practices, and they are largely similar to our Citizen Potawatomi way. I have had opportunities to sit in on namings officiated by other Citizen Potawatomi and they are slightly different, however, I believe that if they are done in earnest with the idea of honoring our Creator and our relatives that have walked before us, they are meaningful and good.

As with everything these days, please be wise with the use of social media as it relates to Potawatomi ceremony. If you experience ceremony — experience it. Videos aren’t to be taken and shared on the world wide web. Still photos are certainly enough to remember the day.

If you reside in District 8 and do not receive e-mails from me, please reach out with your contact information. Since I’ve doubled down lately in making this plea, I have heard from some people who I have not connected with before. Please consider reaching out if you fall in this category.

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),


I submit that one of the most powerful words in the English language is the five-letter word — ought! Think about it. We ought to be good, do good; we ought not to be bad, do bad. We ought to perform acts of kindness; we ought not to diminish any human.

The word, ought, is pregnant with moral and ethical import. We ought to share a portion of our blessings with humanity. Why, because we love humanity. Is this not the root of philanthropy?

The word philanthropy is a combination of two Greek words: philos, “love,” and anthropos, “mankind.” We ought to love humankind. The practice of prudent philanthropy, for the Judo-Christian, is an inescapable obligation. This ethic is probably true for other major religions as well. 

And philanthropy does not have to germinate out of any religious foundation. However, philanthropy ought to derive not from shame, blame or coercion, but from benevolent, if not spiritual, motives. Jesus taught: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…So we also ought to love one another.”

We love our families, our Tribe, our neighbors, and strangers by helping them in some measure. Our giving and sharing can be a portion of our goods, time, or money. These acts of ought can help to meet basic human needs like food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; or acts of ought can foster human excellence like supporting and financing art, culture, education and more. Our giving and sharing ought to count. Count me in.

Migwetch (Thank you),

Paul Wesselhöft | Naganit (Leader) | |