Pokagon Band hosts cultural gathering for Potawatomi - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Pokagon Band hosts cultural gathering for Potawatomi


The Potawatomi nations are working to save their language, with their latest major push coming from right here in the Michiana area.

Kevin Daugherty with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi says only a handful of people remain who grew up speaking the language.  He says his people's language is crucial to their culture.  "The language has so much of who we are in it," explains Daugherty.  "It expresses how we looked at the world, and what we believe the universe to be, and how we interact with the universe."

Teaching the language to children and adults is not an easy task.  Daugherty says Potawatomi has different syntax, verbs are conjugated differently, and the vocabulary is structured differently compared to European languages.  Abut 80-90% of the words in Potawatomi are verbs.  This is the opposite of English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, where about 15% are verbs.

The language teachings are part of a multi-day cultural gathering of the nine Potawatomi bands from across North America.  The gathering is hosted by a different band each year.  The 2013 gathering marks the third time the Pokagon Band has hosted.  This is the 19th time for the event which began more than 20 years ago.

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