By Justin Neely, Director of the CPN Language Department

It has been a busy time in the language department. We just recently released the beta version of our online searchable dictionary. It has several very neat components to it. It has a button for cultural context where we can give more information on a word like “eagle” or “tobacco.” We can explain the importance to our people.

It also has the ability to attach video to the word. It has an area for literal meaning where we can explain more about the word. Another neat component is that there will be an audio file for each word when we are done. We also have a number of historic audio recordings where you can hear different speakers say the words. In June, we hope to have an app version of it available.

Our kids competed in this year’s University of Oklahoma’s Language Fair, and we got second place with our little kids singing the Potawatomi morning song. We also, for the first time, had a partnership with Will Rogers Elementary. Serena Neely brought a group of elementary girls who sang Girls Just Want To Have Fun in Potawatomi. They got second place.

We are in our second year of offering Potawatomi anywhere in the state of Oklahoma. If you are interested in your district offering Potawatomi for world language credit, get ahold of us so we can get it set up. Right now, Wanette is in its second year of offering Potawatomi, and we will have our first Potawatomi class offered at Tecumseh this fall.

We are spending time adding sound files, images and video to enhance our online dictionary. Right now, it has about 8,300 words and 2,800 sound files as well as 600 images. We started a new 10-week Potawatomi language class on April 15. The class will be Mondays from 6- 7:30 p.m. CST at the Cultural Heritage Center. We will be streaming these classes live in our Potawatomi language Facebook group. Search Facebook for “Potawatomi Language” and request to join the closed group. These classes will be archived and available for anyone to view at a later date.

Before long, it will be time to plan your trip to Shawnee for the Festival. We look forward to seeing everyone there, and please don’t forget to use your language! Whatever words or expressions you know. Neshnabemon! (Talk Indian!)