By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director

Bozho Jayek
(Hello everyone),

By the time you are reading this, we should have completed our first Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Reunion Festival in a couple of years. It will be great to get together with jagenagenan (all our relations). This year will mark the first year ever that we will have a Citizen Potawatomi drum setting up at Festival. We have been doing hand games the last few years, but this is the first time setting up during the dance portion.

We set up a drum for the Shawnee & Tecumseh Indian Ed powwow. It was a good learning experience. We were one of six drums that were set up that day. We did a few different songs and also got to see other drummers in action. There were a few big-time drum groups like Thunderhill and War Eagle. Also, Roe Kishketon who has been the main drum for our dance for many years.

We plan to continue drumming and getting better. We will plan on drumming a couple of times a week going forward to continue to get better. Our goal is to set up next year not only at our Festival but also at the Potawatomi Gathering, where all seven groups in the U.S. and two in Canada come together once a year.

Also, by the time this article comes out, we should be wrapping up time with our four interns in the Language Department. We will be working with these folks intensively on the language as well as having them help us with various tasks such as helping work on our online dictionary and sending out our children’s books.

Speaking of our children’s books, we received a grant to make 12 children’s books. This year, we put four children’s books in every Festival bag. By the time this comes out, we will also have a website link through the Tribe’s portal to receive additional children’s books as they become available. Please be patient with us as this will be a very large process of sending out books to those interested.

If you haven’t been using our dictionary, check it out at Also, check out our two YouTube channels: and

By this time, we hope to have a new online beginner course online or close
to finished. We are moving away from our Moodle course, which we have
had for several years, and have a new course on the Tuvuti online platform. We also still have two courses on Memrise. There will also be a new beginner class starting in the very near future, so contact the Cultural Heritage Center or Language Department for more information.

Here are a few phrases/words you can use around the house. My suggestion is to remember this is your language. Start using it; the more you use it, the more you will learn and the more in touch with our culture you will become.

Nasena — Be careful (nah seh nah)
Dokem — Be quiet (doe kum)
Byé-wisnen — Come eat (bee yah wees nin)
Byé-wisnek — Come eat everyone (bee yah wees nuck)
Zagjewébnen — Throw that away (zahg juh web nin)
Zagjewébnen I wigdoyen — Throw away that trash (zahg juh web nine e weeg doe yin)
Zagjesen — Go outside (telling one person) (zahg juh sin)
Zagjesek — You all go outside (zah juh sec)
O mban — Go to bed (om bawn)
O mbak — Go to bed you all (om bauk)
Gdebanen — I love you (like a child) (guh duh bawn in)
Gdo-zhita ne? — Are you ready? (guh doe zhee tah nay)
Ni je ga zhewébek? — What happened? (nee juh gah zhuh way buck)
Kyénep! — Hurry! (kay nup)
Mishen I — Give me that (meesh-in-ee)
Bama mine — Later again (bah mah mee nuh)