Contributed by Justin Neely
A lot is happening with Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s Language Department. We are in our second year of offering beginning Potawatomi language education at St. Gregory’s University for college credit. We are also halfway through our first year of offering Potawatomi in the Oklahoma public school system. The department partnered with Wanette High School to teach it to high school students. The class counts toward students’ two years of foreign language studies required for graduation. We hope to expand the self-paced online course to other school districts in the future. Any schools interested in adding it can contact me at the CPN Language Department, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call CPN at 405-275-3121. We hope that any schools interested will contact us to get the process started early.
CPN Language Department also recently featured our online courses at the Potawatomi Language Conference and the Gathering at Walpole Island in Canada. So far, more than 700 people have participated in our online classes. We offer courses for beginner and intermediate learners. We also have quite a lot of folks using our online children’s course at potawatomi.org:8010/moodle/childrens-course.
The youth course is a fun way for kids to explore a town while learning the language. When they visit the site, they choose which building to enter and then pick one of two rooms. The room’s corners open videos that guide them through songs, cultural teachings such as the importance of the eagle, learning numbers one through 10 or even spoofs of movies like Finding Nemo and Despicable Me.
Anyone who wants to learn about the meaning behind the medicine wheel, Potawatomi cosmology, why we use tobacco or the true meaning of “Indian time” can find resources at potawatomi.org/language/cultural-teachings.
We continue to teach Potawatomi language during child development sessions before the noon meal. The department also recently started a 10-week beginner class 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesdays, which ends Nov. 22. It is an opportunity to learn or pass on some of the language to your family to ensure the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s way of life continues into the future.