Master/Apprentice program coming to Language Program

Language apprentices Carla Collins and Kyle Malott returned this spring, becoming Language specialists, and the Language Program is ready to identify their next apprentices.

Carla and Kyle studied Potawatomi in Wisconsin with Native fluent Potawatomi speakers these past four years, and now they will each take on an apprentice of their own to teach what they’ve learned, for three years.

“We have the opportunity to see significant language retention,” said Rhonda Purcell, Language Program coordinator.

The masters and apprentices will work out of Dowagiac, but they will all regularly travel to Wisconsin for refreshers. Rhonda explained the masters and apprentices will not be tied to their desks; they will be out in the community, experiencing different situations and developing curriculum based on these new conversation types.

Language Program staff are planning trips to such tribes as the Cherokee, Menominee, and Ojibwe, who already have successful master/apprentice programs, as they develop their own.

The language specialists are constantly adding words to our own Potawatomi language database with pronunciation markers and audio recordings for each. They will have opportunity to teach a weekly class, but their focus will be on teaching the new apprentices. Carla and Kyle will also act as resources to current language instructors as they develop curriculum for their classes.

Say “bohzo” to our apprentices when you see them in the community, and be watching for the language apprentice job postings on the Pokagon Band careers page.

Listen to episode 10 of the Pokagon podcast Yajmownen and hear language apprentice Carla Collins discuss her experiences.