The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center recently established the Cultural Education program. Rekindling 7 Generations is being developed by the Cultural Education program specifically to serve youths and families’ needs and interests. Rekindling 7 Generations nurtures the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of Potawatomi and Native youth and their community by rooting them in their Potawatomi culture, familial and intergenerational bonds, and intertribal relationships to grow the future tribal leaders, citizens, and partners of Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
The goal of Rekindling 7 Generations is to provide programming that encourages and strengthens these relationships. All programming is being developed and encouraged by youth and community input. The majority of the programming is for students’ ages 8-13 living in South Pottawatomie County, but we will be providing additional programming for other age groups based on interest and need. We do provide transportation for our programming, but a preference is given to those living in South Pottawatomie County.
The Cultural Education program’s Rekindling 7 Generations began programming in May with our first Neshnabe Sports Workshop for high school age students. Due to the success of our Native Sports programming for the Cultural Mentorship Program, we chose to continue and further develop this workshop. Youth participants learned about the long history of lacrosse/stickball, pegnegewen, in Potawatomi culture.
Youth learned the rules and purpose of pegnegewen, and had the chance to play the game at the CPN Aviary. As a part of the workshop, youth were given a tour of the CPN Eagle Aviary, Butterfly Walking Path, and Community Garden. For the last day of the workshop to conclude the week, students prepared and ate a traditional meal supplemented with ingredients harvested from the garden and they learned about the importance of wild rice and the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) for the Potawatomi.
Throughout the summer, we hosted several workshops for youth ages 8-13. In June, youth from South Pottawatomie County participated in another Neshnabe Sports Workshop at Konawa Schools where they learned and played pegnegewen (lacrosse) and peskia (double ball). Three teen mentors, participants of the Neshnabe Sports Workshop in Shawnee, helped with the Konawa Sports Workshop and shared what they learned with the younger participants. We also held a moccasin making class with the help of Rave Clay at the Cultural Heritage Center, where youth learned how to make pucker toe moccasins (and the teamwork it takes to make them)!
In August, we began our monthly reoccurring programs: the Girls’ Talking Circle, Boys’ Drumming, and our Family Community Day. At the beginning of summer, several of our teen mentors asked that we begin a talking circle for Native girls.
We held our first talking circle in August with a great turnout of youth and female family members. The Girls’ Talking Circle is held every third Tuesday at Konawa Schools (in the Dougan Room) afterschool from 3:30-5:30. The Boys’ Drumming will start up again in the month of October, we will meet every first Wednesday of the month at the Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee from 6-7:30. For our last two Family Community Days, we played the moccasin game to escape the August heat and in September we encouraged everyone to participate in the PLACE’s 5K, A Walk for Hope. The Family Community Day is every last Saturday of the month, for this October we will be tending and harvesting the Community Garden at the CPN Eagle Aviary from 10-2.
Fall programming began in September with sewing and beading workshops for youth. The youth participants decided to create a sewing group that will meet monthly to complete their ribbon skirts and shirts, and then they will begin working on a collaborative quilt. For October, we have two upcoming youth workshops. We will have a Snow Snake Workshop for ages 14-18 at the Cultural Heritage Center, October 19-21 from 3:30-6:30. Youth will learn how to make and design their own Snow Snake, which they will be able to race later on in the cold, winter months.
We will also host a Potawatomi Cooking Class in preparation for the Family Community Day. The classes will be held October 26-28 from 3:45-6 p.m. for ages 12-18. Youth will learn about Potawatomi foods and recipes, the importance of our community garden, and cooking/kitchen safety. The participants will share their knowledge and experiences with those who come to the October Family Community Day. Youth must submit an application if interested, the application links are listed below and the applications can also be found on the Facebook page. Hard copies are also available at the Cultural Heritage Center and can be mailed upon request.
We have a lot going on, so to keep up with us you can be added to our mailing list, or follow our Facebook page, Rekindling 7 Generations. And we want your input! Please fill out the parent and youth surveys at cpn.news/youthsurvey or cpn.news/parentsurvey, so we know what the community needs. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lakota Pochedley at Lakota.Pochedley@potawatomi.org or 405-878-5830. All our programs are Potawatomi and Native preference.