Language Department Teaching Classes: Kids Night



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Language Department staff:  Front row, left to right:  Cindy LeClere, Jan (Pom) Hubbard, and LaVerne Haag.  Back row, left to right, Larry Berryhill, Billy Matchie, Jessica Youngbird, Dawn (Sogi) LeClere and Colton Wahquahboshkuk.

By Billy D. Matchie

Bosho!  The Language Department has been busy this past quarter. First, there have been a few changes in staffing. There are a total of eight employees in the department, with two new employees.  We hope to see a lot of kids tonight at our Kids Night Language Session that runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Kids 7-12 years old are urged to attend for a night of language, learning, and laughter.  Parents must sign in their children at the front desk in the Language Department that is located in the basement of the Fire Keepers Elder Center, 15372 K Road.

Colton Wahquahboshkuk is the newly hired, Language Apprentice in the Master Apprentice Project. Colton is a very quick learner and has shown an excellent aptitude for reading and understanding the Potawatomi language. Colton brings prior knowledge of the Potawatomi language through his school ing and hearing the language in the home. Colton also brings cultural knowledge. Working with young adults such as Colton brings new hope for future generations and to the department.
The PBPN Language and Cultural Department also welcomes back, Laverne Haag.  Laverne joined the Language Department team in June as the Audio/Video (AV) Technician.  Laverne brings many years of AV experience as well as a vast amount of language knowledge having worked previously with the PBPN Language Department in a variety of capacities.
The PBPN Language and Cultural Department is starting the second year of our Administration for Native Americans (ANA) grant for the Master Apprentice Program. The apprentices have been working hard at gathering, speaking, and using the language with PBPN’s Master Speaker, Pom Hubbard and Elder Resource Person Larry Berryhill.

Through this interaction, we have received lots of language to use and document. Everyone in the department has been influenced in more than one way by the master apprenticeship and has made long strides in their Potawatomi knowledge and fluency.
This summer, the Language and Cultural Department held classes at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club as well as our regular Monday night adult classes and we have just begun a new session of adult classes. This year, the apprentices are going to take more of a leadership role in teaching. The classes are held on Monday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 pm.   and we welcome new students.

We would also like to extend an invitation to children and teens. We will be offering kids night classes as well as teen night classes. These classes will alternate every other Wednesday night from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 pm at the department. Our first teen night is September 12th.
Along with the classes, the department has been migrating north to Hannahville once a month for the Hannahville Immersion Camp. There, staff works with fluent speakers, Jim and Mary Jane Thunder as well as their assistants. The department gets to partake in a lot of language use, meanings, translations and other various cultural/language activities that is shared between the bands.

Lastly, our staff participated in a Potawatomi Gathering Language Conference in Athens, Michigan. We were honored to be asked to be one of the presenters and on the opening day, we performed a skit entirely in the language. It was a spoof of the hit TV show, “Dancing with the Stars”. However, ours was called “Ni’mâåi Nâgos” (Dancing Star). The following day, we served as one of the break-out sessions and led several classes. We put on another skit based on the hit TV show “To Tell The Truth” and ours was called, “Åebwe Ne”(Are you telling the truth?). Utilizing all our staff, we displayed a fun way to teach and practice conversational language.   We had a lot of fun and we’re commended on our creative language use. A good time was had by all that attended.
We have had a busy but enjoyable summer.
Since May we have serviced over 900 people with language! We are all excited with the new beginnings of our new staff and our youth classes starting up again. We look forward to bringing more language into the community and to you!