Come Join the Language Dept Fun

August 16, 2013 –

MAYETTA: Learning the Potawatomi language can be fun and entertaining as was seen last week at the annual Potawatomi Gathering held in Dowagiac, Michigan. Performing an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz in the Potawatomi language, members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Language Department gave a presentation complete with costumes and a set during the Language Conference that preceded other Gathering events.

The skit’s title, translated in Potawatomi as “Wizard shi Oz”, highlighted the department’s language and immersion skills and shows how learning the language can be fun and applied to everyday life. The classic Wizard of Oz story was translated by PBPN Language instructors Leo Nadeau and Pom Hubbard. Cindy Leclere  played Dorothy in the remake that also included a cast of other language department staff who played the following roles: Cowardly Lion-Billy Matchie; Tin man-Sogi Leclere; Scarecrow-Colton Wahquahboshkuk;Wicked witch of the West-Laverne Haag; Glinda “The good witch”-Pom Hubbard; Wizard of Oz-Leo Nadeau; Munchkins-Jayme Thomas and Jessica Youngbird.

Here are a few photos of the presentation:

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Cindy Leclere as Dorothy with Billy Matchie as the Cowardly Lion in the background.

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Left to right:  Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow (Colton Wahquahboshkuk), Tin Man (Sogi Leclere) and Dorothy.

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Pom Hubbard as Glinda “The Good Witch.”

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Laverne Haag as “The Wicked Witch of the West.”

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Left to Right:  Jessica Youngbird, Dorothy, and Jayme Thomas.  Youngbird and Thomas were Munchkins.

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At left, is Leo Nadeau “The Wizard” meeting Dorothy.

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The cast takes a final bow.


Over 90 participants attended the language conference and approximately 3,000 Potawatomi overall attended the four-day Gathering event that was held Aug. 8-11.

Back here at home a new series of language classes begins next week.  The Prairie Band Language Department team is urging others to get involved in their Language classes with the goal of keeping the language alive for generations to come and because they have fun. Below are when the classes meet for beginners, adults and youth. For more details call 785.966.2138

Intermediate Language Class-Mondays (Begins: Aug. 19) 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Beginners Language Class-Tuesdays (Begins: Aug. 20) 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Youth (kindergarden-6th) Language Class-Wednesdays (Begins: Sept. 11) 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Teen (7th -12th) Language Class-Wednesdays (Begins: Oct. 16) 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Classes held at the Firekeepers Elder Center basement. New students welcome!