This episode explores language, specifically Bodéwadmimwen (Potawatomi language) in a historical context. We hear from a Citizen Potawatomi Nation musician who paired with a filmmaker to create a music video showcasing the past, present and future of Potawatomi. We also discuss one of the few remaining first language speakers who recently walked on.

Two Citizen Potawatomi Nation members brought their artistic talents together for a song and music video that celebrates the strength and history of Bodéwadmimwen and its speakers. Singer/songwriter Elexa Dawson and stop-motion animation creator Nicole Emmons attended premieres for their work in Oklahoma City and Hollywood, California. Hownikan reporter Mary Leaver attended the premier in OKC and spoke with them about their art and heritage.

“It was so powerful to be able to do that and to be able to show our message about speaking again and reclaiming the language. It made me take stock of everything I was doing and think about where I want to go. I took it to heart, and it’s had a profound influence on me,” Emmons said.

Speak Again is now available at

Find Elexa Dawson and Nicole Emmons online at and

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass referenced nine remaining first language Potawatomi speakers that inspired the poem Nine Remain. However, that was at the time of publication in 2013. Ten years later in 2023, only 2 remain.

Host Paige Willett talks to reporter Mary Leaver about Jim Thunder, who recently walked on in December 2022. He spent his life as a Forest County Potawatomi citizen teaching Potawatomi from all Nations the language and cultural ways.

“(CPN Language Director) Justin Neely shared with me that it was Jim’s view that language connects us to everything, whether that be our traditions, our ceremonies, our history because we did not have written language. We passed our history int he form of an oral tradition. Really the essence of what it means to be Potawatomi, and language is the part that connects all of those pieces together,” Leaver said.

Find resources to learn Potawatomi at

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.