My compassion goes out to the millions of people and numerous Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members impacted by the ravaging hurricanes in August and September. For tribal members in need of assistance as a result of recent hurricanes, please direct your inquiries to our Work Force Development and Social Services Department at 405-878-3854 or 1-800-880-9880.
Now is an opportune time to remind people that it is imperative to keep your address current in our tribal rolls. If you should need to ask for assistance and your address is incorrect in our tribal rolls, it makes it very difficult to address your needs.
Sign of the times
Often, our past informs our future. I was reminded of this lesson about three weeks ago when I saw a sign in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, that was somewhat of a “blast from the past.” My family and I have strong ties with Tecumseh. My late husband and I worked in the Tecumseh Public Schools system for many years. Our three adult children graduated from Tecumseh High School. I taught high school business courses to several students who now work at CPN. The sign I saw read, “Wm. Charles Martin Park.” How could I have been affiliated with Tecumseh for so long and not know that a park was named after William “Charles” Martin? I suppose the reason is that I do not live in Tecumseh; rather I live about six miles away in the community of South Rock Creek. Also, this particular park is in a portion of a residential area that I do not travel through.
Charles Martin is a CPN tribal member. His children, Kimberly, Patricia and Jenifer, graduated from Tecumseh High School. His late wife, Allene, taught elementary school in Tecumseh. Charles Martin was Tecumseh City Manager from May of 1968 to May of 1983. I know many members of Charles’ family well — his beautiful and talented daughters, his beloved sister Barbara Phillips who “walked on” in 2016, her children Nan Ferguson and William “Lynn” Phillips. Nan and Lynn’s sons, Marcus Stagner and Matt Phillips helped establish archery, along with Leon Cross’ family, for the CPN Festival.
Barbara, her husband, son and grandsons made the CPN archery a “family affair” for years. They each loved to see more and more children participate. Marcus Stagner was the tribe’s archery tournament go-to person from the time he was a senior in high school until he recently moved to California.
Charles Martin left our area in 1983 to become the city manager of Frederick, Oklahoma. After several years at Frederick, he and his family moved to Altus, where he served as city manager until his retirement. Not only was Charles an excellent city manager for Tecumseh, but he was also an honorable family man, an avid community and school supporter and a devoted Christian. While Charles was at Tecumseh, our tribe had just begun to be a major influence in the community. In fact, we were still named the Citizen Potawatomi Tribe of Oklahoma. The City of Tecumseh, too, had begun making important strides under Charles’ leadership. I am honored that one of our own Citizen Potawatomi members played a key role in the modern history of Tecumseh.
Martin is a distant relative of Abram Burnett, a Potawatomi leader in the 1800s. Chief Abram B. Burnett was said to be a remarkable man, a fine person, intelligent, who was honest and strictly upright and honorable. All that could also be said of both Charles Martin and CPN District 9 Legislator Paul Wesselhoft, who shares the Burnett heritage with Martin. I am pleased that I took the route that I did three weeks ago and discovered Wm. Charles Martin Park. I appreciate men like Charles Martin and Paul Wesselhoft who are fine leaders today, like Chief Abram Burnett of long ago.
As usual, I cherish the opportunity to serve as your vice-chairman.
(Black Bird Woman)