Since last month’s article, I had the opportunity to attend the National Congress of American Indians in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was a great trip, and I returned with information on a number of subjects. Much of that, I have turned over to Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal headquarters for review, and any appropriate action.
While there, I did have the opportunity to visit the Forest County Potawatomi Hotel & Casino on Canal Street in Milwaukee. It is huge and is a nice facility. If you happen to be in Milwaukee in the future, I suggest you stop in or even stay at the hotel connected to the casino.
While at the conference, a presentation was made by the founders of Stronghearts, a Native helpline organization. They briefed us on domestic and dating violence, both of which are not our Native traditions nor are either OK. They said more than 40 percent of those who have endured this type of abuse did not report it or get help.
Domestic violence is behavior that is used to gain or maintain power over an intimate or dating partner. It can be mental or physical. It can be calling you names that demean or put you down. An abuser might go so far as to isolate you from family or friends, so you neither see nor speak with them. Abuse can be hitting, pushing, slapping or even strangling. Sometimes it is the threat of taking or hurting your child or preventing you from honoring your beliefs.
If you or someone you know has a “yes” response to being in even one of these areas or situations, you/they may be in an abusive relationship. Help now is only one phone call away. At no cost, call 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) and speak to a Stronghearts advocate, available 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. CST Monday-Friday. You can also reach the organization’s website at strongheartshelpline.org.
I did have the opportunity to respond to their representative, who suggested that each Nation develop a similar program for tribal members in their respective tribal areas. I mentioned that while this is a good approach, Stronghearts may want to take their program to some of the Indian Health Facilities like our Dallas Urban Inter-Tribal Center since many Native Americans no longer reside on their tribal land.
CPN is ahead of the curve in this area. We have two active programs.
For spousal abuse, we have our House of Hope program. Its direct number is 405-275-3176. For children in an abusive relationship, we have the (ICW) Indian Child Welfare Family Preservation Program, whose purpose is to protect children in those types of relationships. ICW can be reached by calling our main switchboard at 1-800-880-9880 and asking for ICW. I hope that, in time, all those who are negatively impacted by this violence receive the help they need and become free and safe.
Pokagon Ogitchedaw Challenge Coin
In the package that was given to us at NCAI was a wonderful brochure and coin from the Pokagon Potawatomi Band in Michigan. The brochure covers an item called the Challenge Coin. It has a number of stories about how it came into existence; some say dating back to WWI with the U.S. Army Air Corps. The Pokagon coin commemorates veterans from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan and peacetime. The accompanying brochure gives a great history story on the coin.
At The Gathering at Walpole Island this year, I believe my associate, Oklahoma Representative David Barrett, saw the coin and requested coins from the Pokagon Band to provide to our Veteran Honor Color Guard that represented us at The Gathering. The brochure has the message that if you are interested in the Pokagon Ogitchedaw Challenge Coin, contact Roger Williams at 616-245-4316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know we have many veterans out there, and I suspect many of you would like to have this unique item and suggest you contact Mr. Williams. At this point, I do not know if there is a fee associated with getting the coin. If so, hopefully it is minor.
In closing, I am honored that you elected me to represent you, and I serve with pride and determination to represent you well. I am here to help you on tribal matters where possible. So, if you have a question on any area or need help where you think I may be of benefit, please contact me.
As we get into the holidays:
Enenmego Jesos égi nigit gishget
nchiwenmo mno wéb ponget!
(… and Happy New Year!)
Bmashi (He Soars)
Representative , District 3
112 Bedford Road, Suite 116
Bedford, TX 76022