By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Language Department applied for and received a Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development Living Languages Grant.. This one year grant will help pay for the development and publication of 12 children’s books. We will develop six books for Level 1, or very young children, and six for Level 2, or pre-k children. These books will be used at the Tribe’s Child Development Center. They will also be available for distribution and/or purchase from the Language Department or through Potawatomi Gifts, the Nation’s gift shop, online at potawatomigifts.com. We are excited about this opportunity to create original stories within the language to use with our Tribal youth.
The CPN Language Department recently wrapped up a short promotional video that gives a breakdown of the many language learning opportunities and tools that we have developed. It includes our various online language courses, online dictionary and two YouTube channels. This can be found by visiting cpn.news/langpromo.
Just in time for Halloween, we wrapped up a Potawatomi version of the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. We did two versions: one with the closed captions in English and another with the captions in Potawatomi. We thought the English captions would be helpful for beginners, and for more proficient students, we included the captions in Potawatomi. Night of the Living Dead is one of a number of early films in the public domain. Once in public domain, we are able to reuse these films and make them available. Other films we have done in Potawatomi include the cartoon version of Gulliver’s Travels and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We have also completed a number of smaller pieces such as Casper the Friendly Ghost. We are currently wrapping up Popeye the Sailor Man and Aladdin. All of these as well as our Mtek Wigwam children’s puppet shows are available on one of our two YouTube channels found at cpn.news/JN or cpn.news/langyt.
We have also been working on some original artwork for the Seven Grandfather teachings, which we are making into posters and T-shirts. The shirts and posters will be available from Potawatomi Gifts at the Cultural Heritage Center. We are also planning a postcard series once we have finished all of the Seven Grandfathers. The Seven Grandfathers are a series of values that were important to our ancestors and continue to be important to us today and include wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility and truth.
Our online high school course has been well received and is currently being offered in four school districts throughout Oklahoma. There is also a collegiate variation at Arizona State University. We have had interest from a couple of other school districts and would love to partner with more schools in Oklahoma in the future. Currently, our certification allows the course to be offered anywhere in the state, and the course counts toward high school graduation credit for students.
We will be looking in the near future into doing some more live online classes on the Potawatomi language Facebook group at cpn.news/langfb. So if you haven’t joined our group, definitely take a look. We here in the language department are eager and ready to help you with your own language journey. Let us know how we can help.