Guest Letter: One of the Best TGB Meetings
by Al Baker Jr.
Boozhoo Indinawemaagaanag, Mino Ode Niin dizh ni cuz. "Hello my relatives." "My name is "Good Heart." I just couldn't let this weekend pass without saying Megwitch to LCO-TGB Chair, Mr Louis Taylor, Vice Chair, Jason Schlender, council members, Don Carley, Rosalie Gokey, Tweed Schuman, Joel Valentine and Jason Weaver, for one of the best LCO-TGB meetings, we've had, in a while. Not just because there was a decision to honor our Uncle David Baker but I also believe there was an atmosphere of cooperation that hasn't been present in the LCO leadership in some time, it was refreshing. Even though some members still have questions and concerns to address I believe that, there are finally some ingredients in place, for all of us to come together and heal as a family.
I have to tell you that, from the bottom of my heart, having been across the country, into Canada, Mexico and Australia, Breaking bread/feasting and doing many hundreds of Ceremonies with relatives in the US/Canada/Mexico and from around the World, I have to say, I was very proud to sit in the LCO Convention Center with some the bravest and most talented People on the Earth and I really mean that. Afterall... when you look at what LCO has managed to accomplish, since the Winter Dam Take-over in 1971. In spite of everything, the LCO Band, became the "Pride of the Ojibwe." Well, you just can't imagine or maybe you can?
It is a great story and I don't mind sharing it when I'm doing lectures and Ceremonies. I find that, just sharing my experiences pertaining to our evolution into the 21st Century, are... as a "matter of fact," history. I did have a front row seat as did many other's in the Convention Hall.
As I looked around inside a pretty packed Casino Convention Hall and observed the many faces of LCO History sitting everywhere, I couldn't help but realize that everyone who showed up for the LCO Governing Board Meeting this past Saturday that was held at the LCO Convention Center, really had the "Heart" and carry the ":Spirit" for LCO and had always provided years of service to greater Hayward/LCO Area, whether we were employed or whether it was volunteering, all doing the best for family and relatives, it was great to see.
To name a few... Wow! this is gonna be a hard one... Well, here we go. Oh, one other reminder... We have been around a long time, we watched each other grow up. We learned to trust and believe in each other. We were children with dreams... too.
Well, back to the my personal recognition... and believe me these guys and gals, probably don't get enough recognition but are still committed to remain "The Pride of ther Ojibwe."
People who come to mind are... The Badger Singers, Stoney Larson, Louis White, Paul Demain, Jim Gouge, Will Gouge, Jim Miller. These brothers been singing together, for almost fifty years, Becky Taylor, been dancing awhile, too. Don't think I better say how long?... Could get me in trouble.You figure it out.
My aunt Mary Ellen Baker, who has been working with LCO Community in the field of recovery, as a counselor, for over 35 yrs. Other women include, Dr. Marie Kuykendahl, Deanna Baker, Melody Fleming, Margaret Diamond, Lorraine Gouge, Sue Aasen, Nancy Cooper, Michelle Beaudin, Lori Taguma all talented/dedicated. All have been working and volunteering in Indian Country a Long time. LCO Gaming Commissioner, Mr. Jim Smith and LCO Police Chief, Tim Debrot, both these fellows lifetime career Law Enforcement Officers, proud to know them both, they are Men.
The LCO elders/veterans/Ogiichiidaa, Ed Benton Benai, a lifetime of service as Aanishinaabeg Spiritual Leader, Mr and Mrs. Vernon Martin, Dewey Isham, wife Karen, Elaine Smith, Clara Jalowitz, Daryl Coons Sr., Daryl Coons Jr., Mr. Bodie Larush, businessman; Ron Gokey, Dan Sullivan, Al LaSeur. Gary Girard. Former LCO Council member, Gary Clause. Elder Services Coordinator, Tarrence Mauelito. Others that come to mind but were not there... or maybe I just missed would be Gary Quaderer Sr., Gary Quaderer Jr.,
The Aashkinaawey Ogiichiidaa (Young Warriors) Jason Schlender, council member, Jason Weaver, Council member, Jason Martin, leader and future councilmember? My cuz, Charlie Baker, a real warrior. All of the other young "Warriors" in the "Pii maa tay ziiwin" (living the good life) program of mentors and volunteers. I would also like to recognize another young leader and future council member? Wade Bowling.
Special thanks to all the LCO employees/staff that were there to volunteer and provide information on LCO Services such as: Housing, Health Center, Community Services, etc. I don't think I could ever remember everbody's name. So, I just want to say Megwitch to everyone for giving up a Saturday, to reach out and try to include the whole community.
Couldn't possibly leave this space without mentioning my Mother, Florence Baker and my Brother's Bill Baker and Doug Baker when it comes to lifetime of committment and service to community.
Remembering yesterday? We also have to keep in mind the other leaders in the LCO Community who have walked on... and they include, Al Baker Sr., O'dric Baker, Pat Baker, John Anderson, Al Trepanier, Judge Ed Barber, Marilyn Tribble, Will Gouge Sr., Mike Whitrock, Buzz Isham, these are just a few I could recall.
Living in today's World particularly for Native People... can and is very challenging but when we remember the teachings of our Ancestors...
1) Love 2) Respect 3) Strength 4) Courage 5) Truth 6) Humility 7) Wisdom We can bring ourselves to a place of healing for everyone.
"Everything was created for a purpose.
Just wanted to say about that much and Megwitch LCO-TGB for providing a space for us to come together. Free from intimidation and bullies. Our lives depend on it. Aho!
Gi gaa waa baa min, mino wah! Now that's Positive. I love all of you.