This episode contains stories of Tribal members and CPN departments contributing to the greater community — from enacting change through leadership roles to making communication easier and encouraging others to connect with their culture through music. Justin Neely from the language department also teaches Potawatomi vocabulary relating to health and the human body.

Citizen Potawatomi Nation improves emergency communications for Pottawatomie County

McLoud, Oklahoma, near Citizen Potawatomi Nation headquarters is a small community of approximately 4,600 people and one of the many rural towns across the state with emergency communications issues. CPN turned on a new radio tower in fall 2019 to better serve first responders in Pottawatomie County.

Workers construct a new emergency communications tower in McLoud, Oklahoma in summer 2019.

“We cover 66 square miles, and we also go into Lincoln County as well. So, I have eight square miles in Lincoln County. So it’s a pretty nice sized fire district. Definitely not the biggest, but we definitely get our share, and we can’t find any dead areas communications-wise now since this tower has been online,” said Rhett Banks, Fire Chief for the City of McLoud.

The new tower covers the northern section of Pottawatomie County, including the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort, and reaches north into Lincoln County and the three counties south of the South Canadian River. It goes as far as portions of Murray County, a distance of approximately 70 miles. CPN is planning on improvements in southern Pottawatomi County in coming years. Read more:

Creation started with the sound of the shishigwen

Before the Creator formed the world, the sound of the shishigwen (rattle) filled the void with a steady rhythm. Many Potawatomi liken them with the ability to give life in Nishnabé tradition. Rattles imitate the resonance of water, ranging from sprinkles hitting the bark on a tree to a thunderstorm. It all depends on the materials used, the size of the container and the pieces that fill it.

Each rattle’s sound depends upon the materials used to make the head and fill it. (Photo provided)

“You can’t really rescue our language and produce fluent speakers without people having a connection to our ceremonies. You can’t have ceremonies without a connection to our songs. All these things are so interconnected that, you know, sometimes if a person makes a rattle or a drum, that’s kind of like their entryway back,” said Pokagon Band of Potawatomi citizen and artist Jason Wesaw.

The Potawatomi Gift Shop carries a limited number of Jason Wesaw’s rattles and smudge bowls for sale at You can find him on Facebook at Jason Wesaw, the Art of Condition Studio.

Former Potawatomi Leadership Program participant reforms student government at Oklahoma City University

CPN chose Trae Trousdale for the Potawatomi Leadership Program in 2018 after his freshman year of college at Oklahoma City University. Since then, he’s taken on leading the student body as the Student Government Association president. He sat down with Hownikan Podcast to discuss his time as the first Native American leader of the organization in the university’s history.

Trae Trousdale. (Photo provided)

“It was a great honor to find out that I had won. I was actually sitting in the parking lot of my fraternity house, headed into an executive meeting. So it was one of the greatest memories I have is sort of just sitting there watching the sunset from my car by myself when I found that out,” Trousdale said.

To find out more about the Potawatomi Leadership Program, visit

Learning Language

It’s time for Learning Language, when CPN Language Department Director Justin Neely teaches vocabulary, songs, stories and more. Today’s vocabulary lesson focuses on health and the human body.

  • Déwkwé – headache he/she has
  • Winéndep – brain
  • Nenjén – hands
  • Bagzede – foot swollen he/she has
  • Dé’/nde – heart/my heart
  • Déwapne – heart problems he/she has
  • Kan – bone
  • Mnobmadze – healthy he/she is
  • Bipisdé – Lung
  • Niyow – body (my body)
  • Peshkwéji – pregnant he/she is
  • Mskwe – blood (inanimate)
  • Bmadze – alive he/she is
  • Nek – arm
  • Yaknogé – sick he/she is
  • Kat – leg
  • Bgéjiwapne – flu he/she has
  • Yakmedmowen – ache or pain

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.

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.