City of Shawnee and Citizen Potawatomi Nation launch Shawnee Aligned initiative

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star

A new era is now poised to begin, ending years of friction between the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) and the City of Shawnee.

On Tuesday, at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center, leaders from both local governments announced the launch of Shawnee Aligned, a new initiative with the goal of seeking opportunities to collaborate for the betterment of the Shawnee community.

Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt, seated left, and Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Chairman John "Rocky" Barrett launched a collaborative initiative  Tuesday morning. The two local governments have agreed to work together toward the betterment of the community.

CPN Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett and Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt signed an agreement that will allow both entities to collaborate on important community projects, as well as eliminate any duplication of efforts. Examples of efforts could include water system improvements, fire and police protection, housing, transportation, economic development and improving public facilities.

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The announcement was scheduled the morning after Shawnee city commissioners voted unanimously to formally detach lands south of the North Canadian River for CPN — ending current legal proceedings and formalizing the cooperative working relationship between the two governments.

“For many years, the conflict between the City of Shawnee and CPN has prevented us from leveraging our joint potential,” Bolt said. “Shawnee Aligned represents a new era for our community — setting aside differences to collaborate on initiatives and projects that benefit the community, making Shawnee more attractive for economic investment and positioning us for growth.”

Barrett, who has served in a CPN leadership role for more than 35 years, said developing a strong partnership with the City of Shawnee has long been a hope and a goal for the tribe.

“As the largest employer in the region and a key economic partner, we understand that our greatest success comes when we cooperate. Shawnee Aligned is a huge step forward for the nation, the city and all of our neighbors,” he said.

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The full agreement can be viewed at ShawneeAligned.com. The site will also host future announcements of collaborative efforts between the Tribe and city.

Read more about the collaboration agreement in a future edition of The Shawnee News-Star.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.