This episode explores a bit of the holiday season; a piece of craftwork passed down through a family and a traditional Thanksgiving prayer in the Nishnabé language highlight ways to celebrate with loved ones. There’s also an update on the progress of CPN’s recycling program and a look at a unique extra task two employees take on once a year.

The Higbees Reunite

Several of the Higbees, one of the founding Citizen Potawatomi Nation families, dedicate themselves to the research of their Native genealogy. They meet every month at a Citizen Potawatomi Nation restaurant to tell each other about their lives, what they discovered in the last few weeks and swap family stories. However, John Dragoo brought something special to their reunion in October — a quilt with a family tree.

Higbee family descendants search for family members on a quilt put together by a fondly remembered relative.

“It’s amazing that somebody, one of our ancestors took an interest and did that for all of us. And it’s there and can’t be lost. I think that’s the most important thing is that it’s in ink,” said Tena Painter, who had never seen it before.

The Higbees plan to continue their traditions of annual family reunions, monthly meet ups and genealogical preservation. The Higbees are an honored family at next year’s Citizen Potawatomi Family Reunion Festival powwow. For more information about the Festival, visit

Scuba diving in the CPN geothermal pond

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems a renewable resource. They use the temperature differences between the ambient air and the stable heat underneath the earth’s surface to heat or cool buildings and other large spaces, which creates fewer pollutants than other methods. Citizen Potawatomi Nation built geothermal ponds to reduce its environmental impact, but several years ago, maintenance workers questioned how to keep the equipment clean.

Tribal employees Eric Reed (left) and Chris Berry scuba dive to the bottom of Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s geothermal pond to clean the equipment.

After several attempts to find a cost effective and environmentally friendly solution to the algae buildup, CPN Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett decided scuba divers with scrub brushes met those standards the best.

“It’s just altogether a stress reliever to get under water. “The only noise you have is the bubbles from your exhaust coming out of your regulator, and it’s just peaceful,” said Eric Reed, one of the scuba divers.

Find out more about scuba diving by visiting the Scuba Dudes Dive Shop online at

Learning Language

It’s time for Learning Language, when CPN Language Department Director Justin Neely teaches song, phrases, stories and more. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, he teaches a Thanksgiving prayer anyone can use before their meal with family.

Nwi madmo
(nuh wee mahd moe)
I’m going to pray.

Mamogosnan migwetch jak she gego ga gishtoyen
(mahmoe gose nan meeg wech jock shuh gahgo gah geeshtoe yin)
Creator, thank you for everything that you have created.

Migwetch ode mno gishget
(Meeg wech oduh minoe geesh git)
Thank you for this beautiful day.

Kowabmeshnak jagenagenan (or ndenwenmagnek)
(Koe wahb mesh nack jog eh nahg eh nan)
Watch over us, all of my relations.

Migwetch emawjeshnoygo ngom
(meeg wech eh mao jesh noy go ngome)
Thank you, we’re thankful that we’re all gathered here today.


For more information and opportunities with language, including self-paced classes, visit You can find an online dictionary at as well as videos on YouTube. There are also Potawatomi courses on the language learning app Memrise.

CPN’s Recycling Program

CPN’s growth since the 1970s has made it the biggest employer in Pottawatomie County. With enterprises, services and government offices, waste generation has also increased. Several years ago, the Environmental Department started an internal recycling program. Environmental Sustainability Specialist Jeff Tompkins says over the last two years, those efforts resulted in tens of thousands of pounds of regenerated products and trash reduction.

Environmental Sustainability Specialist Jeff Tompkins feeds recyclable cardboard from one of CPN’s many enterprises into a shredder.

“I believe CPN is such a large industry with so many different departments and enterprises, that what we are doing now is just scratching the surface of what we are capable of (recycling),” Tompkins said.

Find out more about Family Reunion Festival and the recycling challenge at, or follow Citizen Potawatomi Nation on Facebook.

Hownikan Podcast is produced and distributed by Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Public Information Department. Subscribe to Hownikan Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud and wherever you find your favorite shows. Find digital editions of the Tribal newspaper here.