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Native Languages of the Americas:
Potawatomi (Nishnabek, Pottawatomie, Pottawatomi)

Language: Potawatomi--more properly spelled Bode'wadmi, though it seldom is--is an Algonquian language spoken by fewer than 100 people in Ontario and the north-central United States. The current speakers are all older people and there is fear the language may die out, though language revitalization efforts are ongoing. Potawatomi is a polysynthetic language with long, complex verbs and fairly free word order.

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People: The Potawatomi people hail from the Great Lakes area, though many Potawatomis were relocated to Kansas and Oklahoma during the Indian Removals. They are relatives and allies of the Ojibwe and Ottawa tribes, and the name "Potawatomi" refers to their religious/political role as "fire keepers" in that alliance. Their name for themselves is "Nishnabek" (related to the Ojibwe word "Anishinabeg.") There are around 28,000 Potawatomi Indians today.

History: The Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes belong to a traditional alliance known as the Council of Three Fires, who clashed frequently with the Iroquois Confederacy. During the War of 1812, the Potawatomi tribe supported the Shawnee leaders Tecumseh and the Prophet, who were fighting on the British side. The defeat of this pan-Indian alliance meant the relocation of the Potawatomi tribe to Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma--some peaceably by treaty, others on forced marches by gunpoint. Some groups of Potawatomi Indians remained in the Great Lakes region by fleeing into Canada, finding refuge with their Ojibwe allies, or negotiating with their white neighbors; others still live in Kansas or Oklahoma today.

Potawatomi Language Resources
Potawatomi language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Potawatomi Culture and History Directory
Related links about the Potawatomi Indians past and present.

Potawatomi Indians Fact Sheet
Our answers to frequently asked questions about the Potawatomis, their language and culture.

Potawatomi Legends
Introduction to Potawatomi Indian mythology.

Potawatomi Language Resources

Our Online Potawatomi Language Materials

Potawatomi Vocabulary:
    List of Potawatomi vocabulary words, with comparison to words in other Algonquian languages.
Potawatomi Pronunciation Guide:
    How to pronounce Potawatomi words.
Potawatomi Animal Words:
    Illustrated glossary of animal words in the Potawatomi language.
Potawatomi Body Parts:
    Online and printable worksheets showing parts of the body in Potawatomi.
Potawatomi Possession:
    Lesson on the use of Potawatomi possessive prefixes.

Potawatomi Dictionaries, Audio Tapes and Language Resources

Potawatomi Language Program:
    Potawatomi audio tape course.
Native American Dictionaries:
    Potawatomi and other American Indian dictionaries.

Potawatomi Language Community and Tools

Potawatomi Language Issues Forum:
    Messageboard dedicated to the revitalization of Potawatomi.
Neshnabe Institute for Cultural Studies:
    Educational organization promoting the Ojibway, Ottawa, and Potawatomi languages.
Forest County Potawatomi Language Program * Citizen Potawatomi Nation Language Department:
    Homepages of Potawatomi tribal language programs.

Potawatomi Language Lessons and Linguistic Descriptions

Speak Potawatomi:
    Prairie Band Potawatomi language resource with orthography, texts, and sociolinguistic discussion.
Potawatomi Language:
    Language lessons, soundfiles, and book excerpts from Potawatomi elders.
Potawatomi Dictionary:
    Dictionary, pronunciation guide, and other Potawatomi language information.
Potawatomi Alphabet:
    Phonological inventory of Potawatomi, with a sample text.
Hello Oklahoma: Potawatomi Tribe:
    Potawatomi alphabet, greeting, and sample text.
Potawatomi Indian Language * Potawatomi Orthography * Potawatomi Linguistics Text:
    Scanned-in Potawatomi language materials from the Rosetta Project.
Native America Calling: Potawatomi:
    Audio files of Potawatomi Indian words and phrases.
Potawatomi Family Glossary:
    Lists of Ojibwe and Potawatomi kinship words.

Literature and Texts in the Potawatomi Language

Gospels in Potawatomi * Language Museum: Potowatomi Prayer: * Potowatomi Prayers:
    Christian prayers translated into the Potawatomi language.
Canadian Human Rights Tribute: Pottawatami:
    Plaque in the Potawatomi Indian language.
    Potawatomi-language greetings, with audio files.

Potawatomi Language Preservation and Usage

Community Effort Brings Potawatomi to a New Generation:
    Article on Potawatomi language revitalization.
Hannahville Indian Community Language Department:
    Potawatomi language preservation and issues.
Ethnologue: Potawatomi * House of Small Languages: Pottawatomie Nation:
    Demographic information about the Potawatomi language.
Potawatomi Language Tree:
    Theories about Potawatomi's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Potawatomi Language Structures:
    Potawatomi linguistic profile and academic bibliography.
Indian Translations:
    Potawatomi and other North American language translation services.

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Additional Resources, Links, and References

  La Lengua Pottawotomi:
  Article on the Potawatomi language in Spanish. With a language map.
  Potawatomi Language:
  Potawatomi links.
Learning Potawatomi:
Bibliography of Potawatomi language learning resources.

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