Since I announced in last month’s article that I would be seeking re-election as your District 7 Legislator, I thought I would talk about what is important to me. I just entered my 38th year as a firefighter and public servant, and serving others before myself was something I was born into. My father Richard Johnson spent the last 20 years of his working life as the director of Indian education for the fourth-largest school district in California, and, before that, he spent 11 years in the military and served in both WWII and Korea.
It was a great honor for me in my legislative role to help establish Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Department of Education, which will carry on the vital educational work my father and others like him pioneered in this country, and for the betterment of our children and our children’s children. Educational opportunities will ensure the prosperity of our tribe and future generations.
It also taught me how to fight for what’s right and win. While things between that CPN, the state of Oklahoma and City of Shawnee are relatively calm today, if we have learned anything, we need to remain vigilant to the next issue that will raise its head. There are many issues still to resolve, so by no means are things settled. While we don’t always agree on every item, the Legislature is one thing, and it stands firmly resolute behind Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett and Vice-Chairman Linda Capps on issues of tribal sovereignty.
I have also written many times about the wealth of history that my grandfather had in his Carlisle Indian School trunk, which now resides at the Cultural Heritage Center. Many of the allotment and land documents on display at last year’s Family Festival came from that trunk, with the Vieux and Johnson names in both Kansas and Oklahoma.
So, the things that are important to me are serving you, helping you navigate the tribe, expanded educational opportunities for our children and tribal members, and maintaining governmental stability and sovereignty while also providing for a sound fiscal position. Through these things, we will ensure that our next 100 generations will enjoy the same and greater benefits from the tribe, and our culture will endure forever.
I would like to say what an honor it is to serve you as your District 7 representative. In this election year for District 7, I hope I have earned your trust and support, but the most important part is your vote. Please take the time to make your voice heard.
Start planning your trip to Shawnee this year; the Honored Families are Anderson, Beaubien, Bertrand, Bourbonnais, Ogee, Pettifer, Toupin, Wano and Yott at the Family Reunion Festival June 29-July 1 in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
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 you are entitled. 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.
Mark Johnson, Wisk Mtek
(Strong as a Tree)
Representative, District 7
1565 Shaw Ave., Suite 202
Clovis, CA 93611