The Potawatomi Leadership Program is an immersive, six-week internship for Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal members. Participants will travel to Shawnee, Oklahoma and live on CPN lands for the summer of 2017 as they are mentored by tribal leaders.

The program will take place from June 16 to July 29 and the participants will be at CPN during the annual Family Reunion Festival. During their time in Oklahoma, they will learn about each department and enterprise, the tribal government and Potawatomi culture. Each student will also use their creativity to plan and complete a project that will improve the tribe in some way.

“PLP students have an opportunity to connect to their heritage through ceremonies, dance, music and history,” CPN Department of Education Director and PLP Advisor Tesia Zientek said. “Tribal government leaders relish the opportunity to interact and share their experience with PLP students. When a student leaves after six weeks, they by no means have a full understanding of CPN, but they are equipped with the connections and tools to begin to answer the question, ‘What is CPN?’”

Many PLP alumni have shared their reflections about their time in the program at, including 2016 alumna Susannah Howard, of North Thetford, Vermont.

“Being a member of the Potawatomi Leadership Program class of 2016 has been a life-changing experience,” Howard said. “I have completely changed how I look at the world, how I view my peers and how I see myself as a Potawatomi woman.”

To apply for this Harvard Honoring Nations award-winning program, applicants must be a Citizen Potawatomi tribal member, 18-20 years old, have a 3.0 GPA and have completed no more than one year of college, without the addition of credit received while in high school.

“To me, the ideal PLP candidate is someone who cares deeply about becoming connected to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation,” Zientek said. “We do not view a student without tribal knowledge negatively. Instead, my favorite candidate is someone who convinces us through their application that no matter what their relationship is with their tribal identity right now, they are committed to becoming engaged so that they can contribute to their community some way in the future.”

The application is now available and the deadline is April 15. To apply or find more information, please visit