Potawatomi Leadership Program alum Miranda Hazelton is a Peltier Family-descendant who attends the University at San Antonio majoring in Modern Language Studies. On her second year attending the Gathering of Potawatomi Nations on the CPN-sponsored bus, Hazelton took time to answer some questions about her experiences at her first Gathering, her studies and her recent trip abroad.

This is your second visit to the Gathering of Potawatomi Nations. Why did you choose to take the bus and what brought you
back for this year’s Gathering?

“The bus is the most convenient way to get to Gathering as far as money and planning goes. I love road trips but sometimes the work that goes into them is tedious.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to get to know everyone else who’s riding up and it gives me time to spend with my friends. I keep coming to Gathering because I want to learn from and about the other bands. I also love seeing the land that my ancestors lived on and that our language describes.”

You recently traveled to Russia, what was that experience like?

“I spent four weeks studying abroad in Russia. Three of those weeks I stayed at a dorm in Moscow where I attended language classes at a school called the Ruslanguage House. Between classes our professor took us around the city to see some of their most famous sights, including St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin and Gorky Park.

“My fellow students and I also took time to explore the city on our own. During these adventures I was able to practice my language skills with native speakers and ended up having some wonderful conversations.Towards the end of the trip we took
a train to St. Petersburg and spent four days seeing the sights, such as the Hermitage and Peter the Great’s summer palace. It was an amazing experience and I’m already considering going back in two years.”

Why would you recommend going to Gathering?

“Gathering is like the Family Reunion Festival on steroids. It’s wonderful and you get the chance to see all the Potawatomi bands come together which gives a sense of just how big the Potawatomi tribe is as a whole. It’s a first-hand experience to understand that our heritage and traditions are very much alive and are being carried on by our younger generations.”