Iroquois Nation Chief Bob Szkwarek had the unenviable task of following two thoughtful Nation Chiefs that each left a powerful legacy for the Iroquois. However, in his two inspiring years in the role, Bob “the Big Bear” aka “Bobski” has done more than simply transform the Iroquois – he’s literally transformed the landscape of our community, leading the challenging yet ultimately rewarding effort to build the Iroquois Firepit at the Wildwood Nature Center. Along the way, he’s continued to transform the lives of Dads and Daughters in the Iroquois, delivering powerful programming, meaningful meetings and celebratory campouts, all of which ladder up to creating probably the thing that Bob’s most proud of – valuable memories to be shared through all the years ahead. As he retires from the Nation Chief role at the Iroquois Spring Campout in June, Bob shares here his thoughts on a lifetime spent with the Indian Scouts and Indian Princesses:
As a kid who grew up here in Park Ridge, I have many fond memories of the Indian Guides – – the campouts, the meetings, and all the activities. But more importantly were the times I got to spend with my dad. At the time, I don’t even think I realized the strong bond I was forming with him. But as the years went on, it became clear. These were moments we would be able to share and relive forever. So today, as my wife and I raise our own family in Park Ridge, you can imagine how thrilled I was when my daughter decided to join Indian Princesses. I knew this would be the start of an incredible journey together.
It was such an honor to be the Chief of Mighty Seminole. And then, to be given the opportunity and the privilege to be the Iroquois Nation Chief was simply awesome. I felt like I was now able to give something back to an organization that has meant so much to me through the years. I decided to continue the mantra set by former Nation Chief John Dempsey – “It’s all about the girls.” But I wanted to take that a little further. I made it my goal to create memorable experiences for both the dad and daughter, because I feel that out of these experiences, great memories are born.
But one person can only do so much. What was truly amazing and inspiring was the willingness and dedication of all the Iroquois dads and daughters. I had a great team of dads that helped me tremendously each year to continue on our journey. I made many friends, and know that we will continue on as friends for many years to come. As Nation Chief, I have a lot of great memories. I loved going to the Longhouse Meetings and seeing the hand-made invitations the girls produce, seeing their monthly crafts, and hearing about their monthly outings.
I think what I will cherish the most as Nation Chief is being able to stand at the fire ceremonies and see each and every Iroquois Princess – see their smiling faces, see them hug their dads, hear them recite the 7 Aims – all while having my own daughter right at my side, arm in arm. Truly incredible. Thank you Iroquois Nation.
Together Forever as Father and Daughter. — Bob and Maddie Szkwarek