Potawatomi Tribal Leaders Come Together: Gathering Day 1

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The first day of the Gathering began at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort with an Economic Summit Meeting hosted by the PBPN.

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Nedra Darling and Gary Mitchell posing before the meeting began.  Nedra is Director of Public Affairs for the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Office and Gary is Gaming Commission Chair for the PBPN.   Both are tribal members.


Steve Ortiz, Tribal Chairperson, hosted the meeting throughout the day.

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Rocky Barrett, Citizen Band Potawatomi Chairperson, and Larry Briggs of First National Bank & Trust of Shawnee, Oklahoma gave a presentation.

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Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affiars Donald “Del” Laverdure was the luncheon speaker for the meeting and is seen here with Joyce Guerrero, PBPN Vice Chairperson.  Laverdure is from the Crow Nation and was appointed to his position last week by Larry Echohawk who heads the Indian Affairs Office.

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Scholar Chris Wetzel was honored with a blanket by Steve Ortiz and Joseph Gilbert (not photographed) at the Economic Summit Meeting for his research and work with all nine bands of Potawatomi.  Chris just completed his doctorate in Sociology from the University of California-Berkeley and will begin a teaching position at Stonehill College in Boston this fall.  His dissertation was titled One Spirit, One Nation and was about the collaborative efforts of the nine bands of Potawatomi people.

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A group photo of those who attended the Economic Summit Meeting.  Leaders from all of the bands of Potawatomi were present as well as representatives from Washington, D.C.

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Left to right, William Mitchell, Del Laverdure, Dominic Ortiz, Nedra Darling, and Steve Ortiz.  Mitchell and Dominic Ortiz are part of an education/intern program for the PBPN and gave gifts to Laverdure and Darling for being role models for young people.   A 2009 Youth Leadership Conference is scheduled for tomorrow and Friday as part of the Gathering.

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Little Soldier Drum Group and We-Ta-Se Color Guard were part of the opening ceremony for the Economic Summit Meeting this morning.

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Several attorneys, judges and members of the judicial staff of the PBPN participated in the Judicial Conference today at the Casino.

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Left to right is Stacy Leeds, PBPN District Court Judge, Michael Petosky, Chief Judge for the Pokagon & NHBP Band, and Eugene Whitefish, Chief Judge for the Forest County Potawatomi, at today’s judicial conference.