One of the eldest representatives on the Citizen Potawatomi Legislature, Kansas City, Missouri’s Roy Slavin saw the vast changes Native Americans have gone through in the 20 and 21st centuries. He was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, to Roy and Irene Slavin in 1933. He began representing Citizen Potawatomi Nation District 1 in August 2007 CPN constitutional revision, which created the current legislature.
Though he had long been affiliated with the Tribe and its activities, he saw running for office as a chance to continue his Potawatomi family’s legacy.
Entering the U.S. Army at the age of 17 in 1950, Slavin attended basic training in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. He narrowly missed serving in the Korean War when his orders were cut before the war began. Upon finishing electronic school, he was awarded a Q Clearance by the Atomic Energy Commission for his tour of duty at Eniwetok in the Marshall Islands. This assignment was called Operation Greenhouse, a program for thermonuclear testing and the testing of the first hydrogen bomb. His presence during this operation gave Slavin a distinction that not many CPN members or humans can claim – an eyewitness to four thermonuclear explosions.
When he returned to Fort Monmouth, he was honorably discharged in March 1953.
Slavin’s time in the Army also provided training that shaped his professional career later in life.
Once out of the service, Slavin utilized his expertise as a radio repairman in Kansas City. He worked for a number of shops around the city before owning his own, eventually finding his way to Trans World Airlines as an avionics technician. Slavin retired from TWA after 28 years of service from January 1966 to September 1994.
He worked mostly in the avionic shops. In 1966, he worked at the Internal Revenue Service in the extraction department before retiring from the IRS in May 2008 to accept an elected position with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation as a legislator for District 1. He continued this position until his passing on April 21, 2020.
Throughout his life and time representing CPN members in the country’s northeastern and Midwestern states, Slavin experienced both the positive and negative changes Native Americans have endured throughout his life.
Slavin was a staple at many regional and Tribal gatherings, along with his longtime wife Julia, whom he married in May 1952. They had three children, Rod, David and Verna, and spent many hours learning and teaching his family the culture.
Spouse(s): Julia Slavin
Children: Rod, David and Verna Slavin
Assumed Office: June 2008
In Office: April 2020
• United States Army
• Trans World Airlines
• Internal Revenue Service