By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director

Bozho jayek (Hello, everyone),

Lots going on with the Language Department. We had an awesome turnout for our Winter Storytelling event; 75 folks in person and 102 online was the final count.

We also will be having a master apprentice program this summer. We expect six total students. This will be a 40 hour a week, eight-week long program starting at the end of May. At the end of the program, the six participants will have a total of 320 hours of instruction in the language. Our goal is to get these folks conversationally fluent within three years. Depending on their drive, we hope to get folks talking within the first summer. We plan on selecting more students next summer. We hope to refine this and maybe make it an annual class.

Sengo zibiwes (Squirrel Creek Singers), our drum group, has been practicing hard and hopes to be the main drum at our dance this June. We will also be drumming for the Tribe’s celebration of graduates on April 27.

We are also wrapping up the last quarter of our high school classes with Shawnee, Seminole and Tecumseh and our nine-week Shawnee middle school course.

This summer we will also be doing a couple of more public domain movies with our master apprentices, such as House on Haunted Hill, the old black-and-white film with Vincent Price.

Our new introductory course at has been getting quite a bit of traffic. It is composed of 20 chapters. Also, we are constantly creating new content to share on our two YouTube channels and on Facebook.

The newest member of our department, Josey Wood, recently finished the sixth and seventh grandfather posters for our Seven Grandfather poster series. These should be available in our gift shop in the coming months. We plan on also making either a card set or postcard series.

Remember to use our many tools, like our online dictionary ( and two courses on Memrise ( Also, our partnership with Google Arts and Culture’s Woolaroo program uses AI technology and your camera to recognize objects and gives you an audio recording for the word.

Robert Collins, who is currently teaching our collegiate course, is also beginning instruction at the Tribe’s after school program.

Stormy Rhodd has been doing an awesome job working with our little ones in our East and West Child Development Centers. She is also teaching a new 10-week beginner course at the Cultural Heritage Center.

We are taking a class of 4-year-olds from our Tribe’s Child Development Center to the University of Oklahoma Language Fair on April 3. They are competing in the traditional song category. Also, Mrs. Neely is taking a group of first graders from Will Rogers Elementary, who are singing a song in the modern song category. My daughter, Peyton Neely, is also entering in the individual category.

Three members of our four-person Language Department will be presenting this year at the annual Potawatomi Language Conference. I am very proud of my staff for stepping up to present.

The Family Reunion Festival will be upon us before we know it. We will host several classes as well as our annual Potawatomi bingo, which is pretty popular. Also, we will have our annual scavenger hunt. So, check out some of our classes or try out our scavenger hunt.