By Justin Neely, Director of the CPN Language Department
It’s been a busy fall in the Language Department. We just finished a 10-week beginner Potawatomi class and recently began an intermediate class. If you miss any of them, we Zoom the classes for folks not in the area and also record them so folks can watch later. We then post the videos on one of our two YouTube channels. You can find the channels by searching “Justin Neely” and “Potawatomi Language” or at cpn.news/langyt and cpn.news/childrenyt.
Our staff goes into the Child Development Center Mondays through Thursdays. We also have five high schools set up to take our online high school course, which counts toward Oklahoma’s requirement for graduation. Our first year, we just had Wanette. Then the next year, we added Tecumseh. Last year, we added Shawnee and Maud. This year, we also added Seminole High School.
We also added a middle school, 9-week introductory course that every sixth grader in Shawnee will take. This is our first opportunity to offer the language at the secondary level. Other schools can join us to offer the courses. All it requires is a person who can sit in with the students to make sure they are on the course and that the devices connect to the internet. There is no cost to the school district. We look forward to adding more partner districts. There is often a process of having the school board vote and add the course then getting it set up. So, if you have a student who would be interested in taking the course, please contact your school and have them get ahold of me. Currently, each state board of education has to decide if they will allow your student to take the course for credit. We have had a couple of students in Michigan take the course and also one college student at Arizona State University. We currently do not have a collegiate course offering but may offer one in the future.
For folks that used our Moodle online course, we hope to have a beginner’s course available by December. We will be using the framework we use for the high school course as a basis for the beginner course. We also have two courses on memrise.com. Also, don’t forget to utilize our awesome online dictionary at potawatomidictionary.com. All of this was developed in house partnering with our IT department.
We also have a Facebook group called Potawatomi Language in which we share language videos, classes and other language-related content. Its also a great place for folks to practice using the language they are learning. Check it out at cpn.news/langfb. We are also working on a grant to develop a series of children’s books that should be finished by December.
Here is a short prayer that can be used for family gatherings or in the morning when you get up or perhaps for Thanksgiving.
Migwetch jak she gégo ga gishtoyen mine mno gishget.
Thank you for everything you have created and this beautiful day.
Kowabem gi kekyajek, penojeyek, yaknogejek mine jayek neshnabek.
Watch over the elders, children, sick and all Potawatomi/Native people.
Ewi ndodaskeygo mno bmadzen mine jitmagoswen.
We humbly ask for good health and help
Bless us for we are poor and pitiful
Nishokmeshnak wa je dapnayak gde-sheshmomenan mine Neshnabe nadzewen.
Help us to pick up our language and our Native way of life.
Nishokmo gi penojeyek wje nigan ji igwan emno bmosewat.
Help the children as they head into the future to walk in a good way
Kowabem o segmekwe mine jayek mtekok mine wesiyek
Watch over Mother Earth and all the trees and animals.
Migwetch ode wisnewen gaga wa je mijyak.
Thank you for this food which we will soon eat.
Shewenem gi wéjandawat ode wisnewen.
Bless those who prepared this food.
Amen/End of what I have to say.