Greetings from the Central Valley of the Golden State! Late season’s rain has had a significant impact on seasonal rainfall totals. While still below average, any improvement to rainfall totals is critical and definitely beneficial at this juncture. Citrus is in full bloom now. The smell of orange blossom is magnificent, and the sound of the bees buzzing is music for the soul!
I want to thank everyone that attended the District 6 gathering March 10 in San Diego. I know I had a great time. It’s always fun when we get together. I enjoyed seeing many from the District who have become friends over the years. I would also like to thank my brothers Terry and Bobby and sisters Sharon and Karen for their help setting up and companionship on the journey to and home from San Diego. It seems a long car ride is much shorter when you’re riding with loved ones.
Most of our time at the gathering was spent reviewing much of what is available to our Tribal members in the form of culture, community and benefits. A variety of the various forms and information needed for accessing Tribal benefits and services were available for Tribal members with interest. As discussed at the gathering, what may seem obvious or old news to some may be of great benefit to others within our Tribe.
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park is a great facility, and the staff is very easy to work with and made us feel really welcome. I would like to express my appreciation for Tribal members attending for their patience and persistence with the parking challenge. I was notified two days before the gathering that they failed to mention they were having their annual rummage sale and parking would be very congested. I do hope that everyone that came was able to find parking and that no one left for lack of parking. There was ample space, but it got congested due to so many arriving at the same time.
You never know who you will meet at a Potawatomi gathering, and I was pleasantly surprised when District 1 Representative Roy Slavin’s son Rodney introduced himself. It was interesting to visit and get acquainted with him. I also enjoyed visiting with District 3 Representative Robert Whistler’s sister Viva Palumbo and niece Scarlette Almero. Sadly, this column doesn’t afford the space to recap all the folks I had an opportunity to visit with at the gathering. However, I will just say I enjoyed each and every encounter, and I’m glad there was time for visiting with everyone!
Our wisest Tribal member was Nadine Weishan from El Cajon, California. Nadine is a Vieux and Bertrand family member. It was pure delight to be able to talk with Nadine and her husband Robert as they shared some of their family history. Robert is a Korean War veteran and, as he was taking in the museum, noticed that men he knew and had served with had signed the wall honoring Korean War veterans. I was able to arrange for Robert to sign the wall as well. I am so thankful for Director of Events Alayna Stoner for allowing Robert to be forever remembered for his service in that way.
The youngest Tribal member representing the future of our Nation was 8-year-old Ethan Hernandez from San Diego. Ethan is a LeClaire family member. As boring as most of the gathering must have been for Ethan, he was very engaged and attentive.
Deanna Neves from Las Vegas was the farthest-traveled Tribal member. Deanna is a Rhodd and LeClaire family member. I can’t remember a District 6 gathering without Deanna in attendance. While she may sometimes rely on the assistance of a cane for walking and standing for long periods, she certainly doesn’t let that slow her down when it comes to traveling. I remember a time about a year or so ago when she stopped in at my restaurant as she was passing through. I remember our visit very well, and I’m so glad Deanna took the time to stop in, have lunch and talk for a while. It made my day! And I would also like to mention that it was an honor meeting Deanna’s son Canonchet. Canonchet or “Notch” as he is called, is a Narragansett tribal member. Notch is named after a notable Narragansett chief, or Sachem as they are referred to. The Narragansett Indian Tribe is in Rhode Island and is an Algonquin tribe, as are the Potawatomi.
Just a reminder that the Anderson, Beaubien, Bertrand, Bourbonnais, Ogee, Pettifer, Toupin, Wano and Yott families are the Honored Families next month at the annual Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Reunion Festival near Shawnee, Oklahoma. There was a good article in the April Hownikan about regalia. It might be helpful if you are preparing regalia to wear for Festival. I’m already in countdown mode. I hope to see you there!
In closing this month, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the privilege of being your District 6 Representative. Please don’t hesitate to email or call if there is anything I can help you with.
Wisdom from the Word: and said, “I am young and you are old, so I held back and did not dare to tell you what I think, for those who are older are said to be wiser; but it is not mere age that makes men wise. Rather, it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that makes him intelligent.” Job 32:6-9
Rande K. Payne
Representative, District 6
31150 Road 180
Visalia, CA 93292-9585