The Forest County Potawatomi (FCP) Tribal Courtroom was jam-packed Feb. 12, 2018, with many who were anxious to witness the swearing-in of the new chairman and vice chairwoman. This election was certainly unique in that the former chairman of 20 years retired mid-term in January 2018, and many weren’t quite sure what the outcome of the special election was going to be. Seeing the courtroom so full this day certainly indicated that it was a happy day. The two happiest in the crowd were new FCP Chairman Ned Daniels Jr. and new Vice Chairwoman Brenda Shopodock.
Opening the swearing-in was Chief Judge Eugene White-Fish who said, “Welcome to everyone in attendance. If we get any more packed in here, we are going to have to find a different place to do this. We are also going to start off with a prayer to be offered by Associate Judge Daniels and from now on we are going to be doing that. We were taught while growing up that this prayer will do both of these individuals good: let them keep a strong mind and let their judgment be good as a result. I want to congratulate you both and I have to say that was the most people I have ever seen at count (voting), and even this morning it was hard to find a parking spot. I am glad that everyone showed up because in my thoughts, when we swear in a chairman/vice chairperson or executive council member, it’s a big moment for our government.” Judge Daniels then proceeded to say a prayer for everyone in attendance. He also offered congratulations to both of the newly-elected representatives.
After the prayer, Judge White-Fish swore in new Chairman Daniels with the tribal oath of office. Standing with eagle feather in-hand, Daniels was as proud as could be while repeating the words that White-Fish said to him. Many cheers were heard from the people in attendance once the oath was finished. There were smiles all around!
Vice Chairwoman Brenda Shopodock was next to recite the tribal oath of office. Associate Judge Angela Moe did the swearing-in, woman-to-woman as they would say. Shopodock also stood proudly with eagle feather in-hand. There was also loud applause heard in the courtroom once the vice chairwoman was sworn-in.
Another first happened during this swearing in: a group of gentlemen sang the honor song a cappella for the newly-elected members who, along with the rest of the attendees, clearly enjoyed the singing. This was an emotional and overwhelming treat for everyone; there were even a few tears shed. The response to the rendering of this prevailing song was certainly evidence of the value of the culture and heritage of the Potawatomi people to the community, and emphasized how important it is to preserve these powerful traditions.
After the song, it was time to congratulate the winners and, really, they couldn’t have been more grateful and excited to start this new chapter in their lives. In fact, it was so busy with congratulations, hugs and talking that it was pretty much impossible to obtain a quick quote from them both. Hopefully, that can be part of a future story as they begin the work of these important positions.
Congratulations to both the new Chairman and Vice Chairwoman on your wins from the staff here at PTT!