The Citizen Potawatomi Nation supported local efforts to bring holiday cheer to Tribal members and others in the community. From toy drives to distributing food baskets, employees eagerly worked to share their giving spirit with others.
James “Jim” Thunder, Sr., a Potawatomi elder who was one of the few remaining native-speakers and helped lay the groundwork for current efforts to teach Bodéwadmimwen, has walked on. Thunder’s legacy covers not only the years he spent teaching the language but also the documentation he created and shared with Potawatomi everywhere, no matter where they lived. He laid the foundation for future generations to learn Potawatomi.
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.