By Justin Neely, CPN Language Department Director

Bozho Jayek, (Hello everyone),

Ni je na ginwa? (How are you all?)

We are starting a new beginner class on site here at the Cultural Heritage Center from 6-7:30 p.m. Central Time starting March 5, every Tuesday and Thursday for six weeks. This class will be taught by Cole Rattan and Josey Wood, who also taught our last class and did an excellent job. We will be sharing a Zoom link for those who would like to attend but don’t live locally. We will record each class and also post on our YouTube channel for those who have to miss a class.

We will be doing our Winter Storytelling March 13 in the Cultural Heritage Center from 6-7:30 p.m. Central Time. We will be doing this live as well. We have a number of stories which traditionally we only tell in the winter, preferably when there is snow on the ground. For many years we have had just a sprinkling of snow or even none at all. In order to adhere to these cultural guidelines, we tell these stories in the winter season before the arrival of spring.

Starting January 10, we began a new lunchtime class every Wednesday for our elders at the Elders’ Center here in Shawnee. We start around 11:40 a.m. and end before the meal or bingo starts. This class is being co-taught by Cole Rattan and the newest member of our language team, Shelly Watson.

We are also starting to do daily or every other day live classes at 2 p.m. Central Time which can be found on the Potawatomi Language Facebook page. Thursdays we are going to start doing an Intermediate course.

If you haven’t checked out our online dictionary. Check it out at

Also try some of our online courses at

We have an Introduction course which is 20 chapters. We also recently added a middle school course designed for young people who can read. We are currently working on two other courses we hope to have up and available very soon. One is a grammar course which will allow you to jump around to different areas of grammar where you feel you need more help. There will be games, activities and videos to help you fine tune your Potawatomi Language skills. Such categories as VAI, VII, VTI and VTA verbs, pluralizing, asking questions, etc. The other course is a children’s course designed for younger kids who can’t read. The course will be broken up into categories like weather, colors, numbers, animals and objects. The course will have cartoons, songs, movie spoofs, learning videos, cultural teachings and puppet shows.

As we get to Valentine’s Day, we will share a few words for love. In Potawatomi, it depends on which word you use. Debana is the verb to love someone like a child or a good friend. Menwénma is the verb to love someone like a girlfriend or a spouse.

Dbandewen gishget – Valentine’s Day (love one another day) (duh ban duh win geesh git)
Mno dbandewen gishget – Happy Valentine’s Day (mih no duh ban duh win geesh git)
Gdebanen – I love you (guduh ban in)
Gdebanenem – I love you all (like a child) (guduh ban in um)
Gmenwénmen – I love you (spouse/ girlfriend) (Guminwanmin)
Waskonédo – flower (waskonehdo)
Waskonédoyen – flowers (waskonehdoeyin)
Nde-kweyom – my lady/my woman (ndukweyome)
Nabém – my man (Nah bam)
– heart
Ndé – my heart (day nday)
Washkbek – candy (washkuhbuck)
Mingoswen – gift (meengosewin)
Yakwémeshen – Hug me (Yackwaymeshin)
Jimshen – Kiss me (Jeemshin)