This episode includes stories from a Potawatomi elder devoted to music and someone who uses a special connection with the earth to carry on traditions. An employee at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center also discusses how to better research family lineage.

Bill and Marti Roberts

Marti and Bill Roberts visit the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Elder Center almost daily, and both the Bergeron family descendant and her husband love music. They lead a group of elders in singing secular, gospel and patriotic songs every Thursday morning before lunch. Marti plays the piano, which she learned as a child, and Bill occasionally joins her on a flute-like instrument called a recorder.

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Title VI Program welcomes Native Americans 55 and older to the center located at 2346 S Gordon Cooper Dr. in Tecumseh, Oklahoma, from 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday. For more information, call 405-273-5236.

Researching family history

Family History Specialist Czarina Thompson works in the archives department at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center. She helps Tribal members and others research their Potawatomi genealogy, finding relevant historical documents and family connections. She discusses the importance of paper trails and the process of assisting people in their search to discover more about their heritage.

Visit the archives online at, or call the Cultural Heritage Center at 405-878-5830.

Kristy Phillips and birchbark

Harvesting bark from birch trees during the winter requires a specific skillset. Potawatomi have been using birch bark for both artistic and practical purposes for centuries including making canoes, containers and etching surfaces. Tribal member Kristy Phillips learned how to collect it from a friend after moving to Tribal homelands in the Great Lakes region.

Visit the events page to find workshops, cultural classes and Tribal gatherings in your area. Language resources are available at

Hownikan Podcast is produced and distributed by Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Public Information Department. The theme music is written and performed by Marcia Bendo. Find digital editions of the Tribal newspaper here.