The Potawatomi Leadership Program is an opportunity for young tribal members from around the country to take part in a six-week long educational program in Shawnee, Okla. The program strives to give interns an accurate perception of CPN as a whole and cultivate talent from within to ensure that younger generations are prepared for a role in the future governance of their tribe.

In October 2014, the six-week internship program for college-age Tribal members received the High Honors award from Harvard’s Honoring Nations Program. The award came just more than a decade after the inaugural PLP class of 2003 walked through the door.

“When I was in the PLP, I understood the program was awesome. But I couldn’t have imagined the far reaching impacts of the PLP program,” said 2003 alumni Noelle Albano after the honor was awarded.

“Now I get it. Having a program like the PLP is absolutely essential for long term growth of a tribe. If you look back on any civilization, those that have stood the test of time have passed knowledge and cultural heritage from one generation to the next and adapted to change, in spite of great adversity,” Albano said.

The PLP brings in a handful of Potawatomi from across the country each summer where they learn about the day-to-day business of governing one of the United States’ largest tribes. Cultural practices compliment the professional work environment, with PLP participants learning more about their language, culture and family histories along with the issues in serving 30,000 members and employing nearly 2,500 workers.

PLP applicants will be able to apply to the program at

Tesia Zientek, Grants and Contracts Coordinator for CPN, helps out with the PLP during their summer internship.

“Coming off of winning the Harvard Honoring Nations Award this past fall, we are extremely proud of the PLP and its positive reputation in Indian Country,” said Zientek. “I would highly encourage anyone who meets the eligibility criteria to consider applying. It’s always a mutually beneficial experience as we learn from the students’ unique perspectives and they take away a deeper understanding of the cultural, professional, and leadership aspects of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.”

The user friendly website,, allows individuals to see previous classes, details of the program’s activities and has an online application page for future PLP students. Whether a parent seeking information or tribal youth interested in attending, the website gives everyone an idea of what they need to know.

The dates for participating in the program this year is from June 19 to Aug. 1. Applications can be submitted from March 1 to May 1. Those selected to participate in the 2015 PLP class will be notified by May 15. To qualify, applicants must be a Potawatomi Tribal member with a GPA of 3.0 or better who is between the ages of 18-20 by the program’s start date that has completed no more than one year of college.

For more information about the program and attending, refer to the PLP website or contact Dennette Summerlin at (800) 880-9880, ext. 1103.