Trusting the Spring season finds my Peoria family doing well. I am always encouraged by the transitions of Spring; as the days lengthen and gardens come to life, renewed energy and hope restored.

This past year has been an incredible journey that has brought fresh vision and a more precise direction for our future prosperity. I had the privilege of meeting with many Tribal and Cultural Leaders, State Officials, and Federal Agencies in hopes of strengthening and building new relationships for the future benefit of our citizens. With this purpose in mind, I attended Nation- To- Nation conferences, Tribal Economic Development conferences, and Tribal Finance Summits.

I firmly believe, that for us to continue moving forward and know EEHIŠI IIYAAYANKWI {Where we are going} as a tribe, we must understand where we’ve been.  One of my personal goals has been not just to gain a deeper understanding of our Tribe’s history and culture, but to truly learn about our ancestors and our ancestral lands. One of the highlights in this regard was my recent trip to Cahokia Mounds, located just outside of St. Louis, Mo, designated as a World Heritage site by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This 2,200-acre mound civilization complex is a true marvel. Second Chief Logan Pappenfort and I were recently hosted by the Museum Director and toured both the Museum and property. The focus and labor of the Cahokia citizens were monumental. It was inspiring to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors.

Following our visit, the Peoria Tribe has been invited to participate in upcoming events at Cahokia Mounds. We are currently planning chartered day trips from Miami for our citizens to coincide with future events there. Continue to watch our website and Facebook postings for details.

Planning is also underway for the 22nd Annual Peoria Tribal Powwow. We look forward to seeing everyone there as we gather together to celebrate as a family.

It has been an honor to complete one year in office as Chief; serving this great Tribe and our proud Peoria People. Please, make plans early to stay at the Buffalo Run Hotel and tour the casino. While you’re in town, the staff and I welcome each of you to stop past the Tribal Office for a visit.

Hope to see you all soon!
Craig Harper