Submitted by Justin Neely, CPN Language Department director
Bozho jayek (Hello everyone). By the time this paper goes out, our youth in the child development center will have competed in the annual Oklahoma University Language Fair. This year, the kids are learning a hand drum song, “Mamwe gda mishkosmen.” (All together we are strong.) I feel confident that they will do well and hopefully add to their trophies, displayed at the Child Development Center.
We also just wrapped up another successful Winter Storytelling event. Due to inclement weather we had to change the date to March 7. We streamed the event live on Facebook, so hopefully, many folks who live outside of the immediate area were able to participate.
The language department applied for and received an Endangered Language Fund Grant from Yale University. With this grant we will develop a children’s series geared toward 1-4 year-old kids. Current plans are for a 15-part series, so look for that in the near future. We are continuing to offer the Potawatomi language in the Wanette School District and are looking for other districts that would like partner to offer Potawatomi the following school year. Our course is online and designed in a way that students should be able to do the material at their own pace.
We are also working on doing a series of traditional stories in Potawatomi and English. We are planning on using a variety of mediums. We want to use puppets, real life people and green screen capabilities to make the stories fun.
Another project we are working on is a talking dictionary. As many of you might know, we have a dictionary with about 5,500 words in it. The only problems are, it doesn’t like Mac computers and has a limited number of sound files. We intend to make the new talking dictionary include hundreds, if not thousands, of sound files, so we hope folks will enjoy it.
A number of folks also continue to enroll in our online Beginner I, Beginner II and Intermediate courses at language.potawatomi.org. Each has 20 chapters with quizzes, crossword puzzles, videos, movie spoofs and other tools for learning. If you haven’t tried it out, I highly encourage you to do so.
Another tool we developed which is gaining in popularity is a course on Memrise. If you download the Memrise language learning app and then look for Potawatomi phrases, you will find a 10-level course. It has a leader board where you can compete with others taking the course. It also includes countless audio files with clips from a number of different speakers so you can hear a variety of people.
We also have our children’s course at potawatomi.org/resources. You will see a town. Click on the images to enter different rooms and then click in the rooms to activate songs, learning videos, cultural teachings, stories and movie spoofs. To make this even more readily available, we have also put these videos on YouTube. Search for Potawatomi kids language and you should find them there.
Also, we are planning on starting a new 10-week beginner class the first part of April, so pay attention or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. We will also plan on streaming live in the Potawatomi Language Facebook group.
This summer, we are considering doing a once-a-month drumming session for those interested. If you do have any interest, let us know.