It’s been a busy year for the language department. Our three year grant that helps fund our development of self-paced language classes is coming along nicely. The classes will have four units with 10 topics in each unit. Each topic will be taught in five to eight lessons, depending on the subject. The classes are designed to be fun, interactive and most importantly, available to folks whenever they have the time or the desire to learn the language. To proceed through to the next lesson, students will have to pass quizzes on the subject they just mastered.
We also are including cultural teaching within the lessons on topics like the importance of the eagle in Tribal culture, the four main medicines of the Potawatomi Medicine Wheel, how to bead, and dance etiquette and styles. These are just a few of the numerous topics we will cover while teaching students the language.
As a result of this endeavor, we have welcomed some new staff. Ted Isham, Michael Kelehar, and Enedina Banks are all working hard to help us create these stimulating, self-paced classes. Kche migwetch for all their hard work.
The first beginner series of courses should be available in the summer of 2015 with an intermediate and advanced version to follow. Our goal is to help people advance from limited understanding of Potawatomi to eventually be fluent in the language.
In other language news, we had a great turnout for our second annual Potawatomi Language Bee with students from the Child Development Center. Lead teacher Randy Schlachtun did an excellent job getting the kids ready, and personally, the kids blew me away with their knowledge of our language.
In future news, keep on the lookout for our annual winter story telling event to be announced in the coming months. There are many stories, especially those which involve Nanabozho or Wiske the trickster, which can only be told in the winter time. During this time of year, our ancestors believed the earth and spirits are asleep. It’s a great chance to learn some traditional Potawatomi stories that can be passed on to your own family. That gives us the opportunity during this time to tell our winter stories. It should happen sometime in February, but a confirmed date will be forthcoming.
I also want to announce that we are looking for another language teacher. While a prior knowledge of Potawatomi would be beneficial, we can train someone with experience teaching languages. The best way to learn is to teach, and we all began somewhere. Keep an eye out on www.FireLakeJobs.com for a posting.
Sometime in mid-January look for an announcement of new language classes that will start up in the evenings. We also plan on re-starting our online classes on Tuesday afternoons around 12 p.m. CST. Also we have an intermediate class Thursday afternoons from 3:30-5 p.m. All of the on site classes should be at the cultural heritage center. Check back with us at the first of the year or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gde nenmego se Merry Christmas mine mno wepongek. (We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.)