On learning your language.

Some interesting thoughts on language.

Why you should learn your language…….or as one person asked me recently, why should I learn my language? I informed him that the Potawatomi People have a Potawatomi language given to them by their Creator…when folks ask him what and who he is, how does he answer them when they ask him about his Potawatomi heritage? How does he answer if they should ask why he doesn’t use his heritage language? What does he say to folks when they ask why he doesn’t seek to learn his heritage language? How does he justify not using his heritage language telling people who he is? Why doesn’t he use his heritage language in prayer? What does he say to people when they find out he is Potawatomi and does not know his own mother tongue?  This young man shared with me that he was a traditional, being quite proud of informing me he was a member of the Big Drum. So I asked him, for that matter, what language does he think those spirits speak, English or Potawatomi? What language does he think his concept of God speaks, you know the One who gave him life and also gave his people their heritage language?

A more interesting question for some of you……what language do you pray in and don’t you believe the God who created us, likes it when we use the languages we were given? Are you Potawatomi like me? Do you speak Potawatomi? Are you aware there are language classes being conducted every week, somewhere by any one of the Seven Bands of Potawatomi in the United States? Do you do everything in your power to make it to at least one of those classes? The classes we teach, though we are not connected with any Tribe, are Contract Learning Classes. I am Prairie Band Potawatomi, but have had my own Web Site http://www.patreon.com/neaseno and Teaching Business for 20 years. We charge reasonable fees for Instructors and materials, but still keep our costs down. Still, that is cheap when you consider the quality teaching you get for those fees, when you compare the cost of concert tickets, movie tickets, or even DVD’s once or twice a month, along with what smokers must pay for cigarettes.

Something further on praying in your language, if you are Potawatomi or Bodewadmi, as we say in our language, have you tried learning that tongue to talk to the Lord? There are many Tribes that sing in their Native language and some even have Bibles written in their tongue. It is beautiful to hear the Cherokee sing Amazing Grace and to hear the spoken Ojibwe language reciting various scriptures from the Ojibwe Bible. I love to worship the Lord in Bodewadmimwen and pray using our spoken tongue. It just makes me feel that much closer to my Lord and Savior.

God did create all languages and if He took the time to create something very specific like you and me, the bear, the wolf, the deer, and other creatures, then he expects us to follow our original instructions, and make the sounds pursuant to our language, so we need to start speaking Potawatomi… If you don’t know your heritage language, then begin to learn it and speak it when you pray and sing in your worship. Come to think of it, what language do you sing your songs in? I hope it is in Potawatomi if that is the language you speak or are learning…..better yet, start thinking in Potawatomi too as it shall help you learn that thought process.

It takes a lot of effort to learn your mother tongue, but it can be done if you take pride in who you are as a Potawatomi person. I do! I want to say I am Potawatomi and pray in my heritage language, think in that language and even sing in it. I want to do everything in my Mother tongue and when I pass from this world into the next, I want the Lord to welcome me into that world using my Neshnabé name and in Potawatomi. That is the language I have been using to worship Him and that is why I would feel especially blessed to be recognized by God in that language. What will you do when you meet your Maker in the next life, and wouldn’t it be wonderful to be greeted and welcomed in the language you spoke here in this Earth Walk?  You don’t really think this life and this world is all there is, do you?

Do something about it now and learn your own language and cultural ways.

We have the means and the classes…..check out our Web Site at www.patreon.com/neaseno for online classes and cultural teachings on the Neshnabé Languages and Way of Life.

We offer classes at modest fees, on Zoom three times a week, including a cultural class featuring a lot of Potawatomi language within the class program.

We also maintain this site: https://wordpress.com/post/neaseno.wordpress.com/2647

We feature a lot of language on this site and often post recordings we have made of various aspects of the language.

Some interesting and provoking thoughts from Neaseno……   

Iw enajmoyan odo pi

Nin se Neaseno.

Author: neaseno

I was born on Powers Bluff in Wood County, Wisconsin, into a traditional community of Neshnabek. I was raised speaking only native languages, and learned to speak English upon entering school at the age of 6. As of this writing, I am one of 5 remaining Heritage Fluent Speakers of Potawatomi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s