This episode discusses the health and cultural importance of strawberries, and shines a light on the new Potawatomi Fire dance teams. We also talk with a Tribal member and leader who recently became director of CPN’s Workforce Development and Social Services Department.

Strawberry Moon signals heart health

Nishnabé referred to June as the Dé’men Gises (Strawberry Moon). It also signified the beginning of niben (summer), which translates to “the time of plenty.”

Potawatomi hold strawberries in high regard, and Bodéwadmimwen (Potawatomi language) expresses it. Dé’men translates to “heart berry.”

Photograph of a young child in a ping tshirt looking up at the camera and holding a white pail full of strawberries.
Tribal member Prestynn Neely spends the weekend picking strawberries with her family at a farm in Oklahoma.

“(Strawberries) are filled with good nutrients and things like that. I think the more fruits and natural game and nuts and things that we can add to our diet, I think the better off we are to get away from some of that processed food,” said CPN Language Director Justin Neely.

Read more about the strawberries and the seasons at the Cultural Heritage Center’s online encyclopedia at

New Fire dance teams bring the heat to Shawnee

Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s professional basketball team the Potawatomi Fire recently wrapped up their first season. There were several dance squads of all ages cheering them on the entire time – the Fire Girls, the Heat and the Sparklers. CPN Public Information Communications Coordinator Rachel Vishanoff interviewed dance team members, coaches and watching performances on the court throughout the season and sat down to talk with us about it all.

A column of dancers wearing bedazzled Potawatomi Fire hoodies perform movement in canon at their debut performance at the Potawatomi Fire's first home game at FireLake Arena on March 19, 2022. Their curled blonde hair whips across their faces, the dance movement rendered dynamic even in the still photograph.
The Heat dance team performs during the second quarter at the Potawatomi Fire’s first home game.

“When I heard that there would be Fire dance teams alongside this new basketball team, I knew that I had to check it out and see what it was all about. It’s been really great to watch so far,” Vishanoff said.

“Something that I think is really remarkable about the Fire dance teams is that there’s really opportunities for every age level and every experience level.”

Visit the Potawatomi Fire online at Follow the Fire Dance Teams at @FireDanceTeamOK.

Margaret Zientek named Workforce and Social Services director

With her attention always on the needs of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and its members, Margaret Zientek has already hit the ground running as the new Workforce and Social Services department director.

Headshot of CPN Workforce and Social Services Director Margaret Zientek. She wears muted red lipstick and frameless glasses, and stands in front of trees which are out of focus in the background.
Workforce and Social Services Director Margaret Zientek

“It’s wide open as to how far we can expand employment, training and related programs. I’m really excited where that could lead us. Taking on something brand new means you learn something brand new,” she said.

Learn more about Workforce and Social Services at Read information and apply for the Potawatomi Leadership Program at

Learning Language

It’s time for Learning Language, when the CPN Language Department joins us to teach vocabulary, songs, stories and more. In this segment, department director Justin Neely lays out how to do a personal introduction in Bodéwadmimwen.

Learning Language – June 2022

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.