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Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations 2015, Carter, Wisconsin

Report on the 2015 Gathering of the Potawatomi Nations. The Forest County Potawatomi Indian Community welcomed us to Carter, Wisconsin with great warmth and generosity. Citizen Potawatomi leaders who attended included Legislators Dave Barrett, Bob Whistler, and Roy Slavin, Vice Chairman Linda Capps, Chairman Rocky Barrett and me. Spouses Connie Barrett and Julia Slavin also attended. We were able to reconnect with quite a few tribal leaders and members of the other Potawatomi tribes, including Gus Franks (Tribal Chairman, Forest County), Ed Pigeon (Vice Chairman, Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band of Pottawatomi), Ramona Cole and Carrie O'Toole (both Prairie Band Potawatomi, Carrie is on the Tribal Council). I also enjoyed visits with many CPN friends, among them: Bob and Janet Pearl (Il.), Marge, Susan and Davis Hobdy (Tx. and Md.), Sheila Kelly (Fl.), Susanne Simon (Fl.) and Dwight Greenfield (Ok.), Tim and Margaret Zientek (Ok.) (Tim was ever-kind and helpful and Margaret applied her talents and helped me wear properly some new beadwork as part of my regalia, made by Citizen Potawatomi Michael Hancock (Ks.)), Tesia Zientek (Ok.), Kelli Mosteller (Ok.), Dan Francoeur (Oh.), Cathy Wamego (Ok.), and Sharon Hoogstraten (Il.). Sharon, as always, spent most of her Gathering time behind the camera – she made many portraits of Forest County and other Potawatomi in regalia, to everyone's delight, as part of her ongoing project to document modern Potawatomi. I’ve included here a photo of the CPN gathering area at the Gathering, a photo of Sharon making a portrait of Bob Whistler, and a photo of Mrs. Capps and me in our regalia. I want to give a special shout-out here to Kayla Longo, who had to miss the 2015 Gathering because she broke her foot! We have had a tradition of getting our picture taken together during the Gathering and I missed that this year, Kayla! I have posted here many photos from the weekend – I am certain you will be impressed with the integrity and beauty of the place and the people.

During one afternoon during the Gathering, we had a meaningful ceremony, led by Chairman Barrett, for CPN citizen/veteran/historian Jerry Lewis, who walked on early in the summer. Jerry’s ashes were spread in a wooded area in Carter at the close of the ceremony by his daughter AnnMarie Cobb and her husband David and by Jerry’s sister Dorothy, among others. It was good to hear the Chairman blow the eagle bone whistle made by our friend Ted Welfelt (Fl.) as part of the ceremony.

Mark Your Calendars. We, the CPN, will be honored to take our turn to host the 2016 Gathering during the last weekend in July 2016. I hope to see you there.