The 2017 Potawatomi Leadership Program application will be open from February 1 – April 15. Every summer, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation brings 8-10 tribal members ages 18-20 to learn about the tribe’s government, economic development and culture as part of the PLP.
In 2003, the program began as a way to address a need to prepare future leaders for the Nation. Tribal leaders understood that a critical aspect of leadership involves understanding the inner workings of the tribe, so they invited students to spend six weeks in Shawnee, Oklahoma to participate in cultural events, meet directors of government programs and commercial enterprises while taking an active part in their Citizen Potawatomi Nations’ government processes. Since then, over a hundred students from all over the world have participated in this Harvard Honoring Nations Award-winning program.
For many, the experience has been life-changing. After her participation, Ivory Hanson, a 2015 PLP from Urbandale, Iowa stated, “I will take with me a better understanding of our history, cultural lessons I have learned from different people in the tribe, and understanding of how accomplished CPN is as a nation with all of its different businesses and ventures, and how passionate people are about the tribe.”
Like many PLP students, Ivory has maintained her engagement after the program ended. In the summer of 2016, she returned as an economic development intern and plans to continue her involvement with tribal affairs into her career.
This year’s program will take place from Friday, June 16 – Saturday, July 29. To be eligible for the PLP, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA, be 18-20 years old by the program’s start date, and have not completed more than one year of college. Travel expenses, housing, food and a weekly stipend are all provided. In addition, students can opt to receive three credits from St. Gregory’s University for completing the program. Students can learn more and apply online at plp.potawatomi.org.