Following a career of activism leading to the recognition of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, Opal Lee’s next project is a National Juneteenth Museum in Fort Worth, TX. Keen to tell the story of emancipation from every perspective, Lee visited Tribal headquarters in August to discuss the unique history of slavery and emancipation in Indian Territory.
The 2022 FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest drew its largest crowd ever to Shawnee, Oklahoma, on August 12 and 13 to enjoy hot air balloon rides, live music performances and family entertainment. “The committee works hard to make each year better than the last,” said Vice-Chairman Linda Capps. The Festival will return in 2023, with new activities for its sixth year.
Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett received three awards in 2022 at the state and national level in recognition of his career in public service, belief in servant leadership and decades-long devotion to the expansion of tribal sovereignty across the United States.
As an economic force in central Oklahoma, Citizen Potawatomi Nation continued to contribute to the growth and sustainability of Oklahoma and its communities in 2021. A government report released earlier this year shows the Nation’s economic impact increased from $546 million in 2020 to $729 million in 2021 — a total of $183 million. Over the last 15 years, the numbers show an expansion of $350 million.
On June 17, 2022, Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Dunbar Heights Community of Shawnee, Oklahoma, held a VIP reception in honor of Juneteenth. The partnership works to acknowledge the historical ties between Native tribes and slavery, repair the historical divides between Native American and Black communities, and pave the way toward a more just and equitable future.
The FireLake Fireflight Balloon Festival received the Outstanding Event award during the 2022 RedBud Awards, hosted by the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association. For the past 25 years, the RedBud Awards have recognized Oklahoma’s top tourism attractions, events, programs and organizations for their outstanding efforts to serve and promote Oklahoma’s tourism industry, according to the OTIA website.
The youngest Citizen Potawatomi tribal members will have numerous activities to choose from as the 2022 Family Reunion Festival gets underway in Shawnee, Oklahoma. CPN Child Development Center Director Donnette Littlehead outlines the variety of activities offered.
When people visit the Citizen Potawatomi Nation headquarters for the 2022 Annual Family Reunion Festival, friendly competition is part of the tradition. All contests are open to Tribal members and their spouses, and whether they compete in modern games like softball or traditional handgames, opportunities are everywhere.
With Tribal enrollment expanding, some will honor their ancestry and relatives at the powwow for the first time. Now is a good opportunity for a refresher on powwow etiquette. Rules regarding clothing, personal space and dancing make participating comfortable and fun.
Artisans of all skill levels are welcome to attend the crafts classes at the Cultural Heritage Center during the 2022 Annual Family Reunion Festival. This year, in-person instruction returns to the CHC and will be offered for: bandolier making; beaded Tribal pins and bolo ties; hand drum making; shawl applique and fringe; beaded lanyards; moccasin making; chokers; and beaded bracelets.