Submitted by Justin Neely,
CPN Language Department
Another successful Family Reunion Festival is in the bag. We had a great turnout for our language classes, and Potawatomi bingo was a huge success with over 100 people playing each session. We also taught an immersion class and children’s class, which were well received. Another highlight each year is our Potawatomi scavenger hunt. Each year, we try to improve on previous years. We change the locations where people have to go to find information. The questions are all in Potawatomi, and we place dictionaries out to help folks. This year we had folks send in pictures or selfies at different locations.
Our Citizen Potawatomi Youth Choir ages 5-18 sang our rendition of Amazing Grace for the church service, which was well received. We will be doing more songs and events in the future. If you have a child who might be interested, please let us know.
We are always trying to find ways to get the language out and available to folks who want to learn. We have an online dictionary with over 5,500 words. We have online courses — Beginner I, Beginner II and Intermediate — which offer a very structured ways of learning the language. We also have a couple of courses at memrise.com, including Conversational Potawatomi with sound clips from a variety of elders, and “A Day in the Life,” which follows a person’s daily routine. For example: get up, eat breakfast, go to school or work, hanging out at home in the evening etc.
We also have a children’s page, and most of our children’s videos are available on our YouTube channel, which can be found by searching “Justin Neely” or “Potawatomi language kids.” Current projects we are working on include, but are not limited to, a series of cultural stories in mostly English and a 15-part kid’s show, which will be partially in Potawatomi and partially in English. We have been animating several stories collected by Charles Hockett in the 1940s and making them into short films. We are also talking about making a searchable dictionary. Also for those that do not live in Shawnee, we have a Facebook group called “Potawatomi Language” where we also stream all of our local classes live. Look for a new beginner class and intermediate class to start up in the middle of August.
This year is also exciting because we are now going to be offering Potawatomi through our online course to Wannette and Tecumseh public school districts. We now have the ability to offer the language anywhere in the state of Oklahoma for fulfillment of the language credit for graduation. Currently, it’s up to each district to contact us to set it up. We will work to expand into different areas but are happy to develop partnerships with school districts.