May 31, 2011 –
MAYETTA: Cecelia Miksekwe Jackson, 88, a well respected elder and one of the last fluent speakers of the Potawatomi language died Sunday at a Topeka Hospital.
Meeks was born on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation in Kansas and lived all of her life there. She was a lifelong member of the Drum Religion and dedicated to the teaching of Potawatomi ways and preserving the language. It was through her efforts that the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) Language Department began in 1998 and is still maintained by a full-time staff and several volunteers who are revitalizing the language and culture.
Meeks was noted for having the ability to comprehend and bridge together four languages-Potawatomi, Odawa, Ojibwe and English-for use in composition which was then used to teach the language and culture to others. Among her accomplishments, in collaboration with the language department, were a Prairie Band Potawatomi dictionary, grammar book, two audio/video DVD books and a book titled “Stories of the Potawatomi” that were all written in the Potawatomi language. Last year, she was honored with a ceremonial dinner given by the Prairie Band people and leaders for her life’s work.
In addition, Meeks also worked at Slimaker Dress Factory for many years and at the PBPN Bingo Hall. She was also a member of the We-Ta-Se Post #410 American Legion Auxiliary.
Jackson is survived by a daughter, Jan Pom Hubbard of Lecompton, Kan; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Drum services will be Wednesday evening at her home. Burial will be in Potts Cemetery on the reservation Thursday afternoon. Meeks will lie in state at Mercer Funeral Home in Holton, Kan. today and tomorrow.
Her obituary is posted at http://www.pbpindiantribe.com/gambottek.aspx