Week One

PLP students take a language class at the Cultural Heritage Center.
Week Two
July 11, 2022

June 10, 2022 – Friday

Move in.
Move in

We arrived at the Sharpe House!! Our travel plans were arranged for us and we were picked up at the airport. As everyone arrived at the house we were given a tour and orientation for the upcoming weeks. We had time to settle in and had a chance to get to know everyone a little bit. We also planned the meals for the week so we knew what to get at the grocery store. 

“I was nervous about picking rooms and who my roommate was going to be, but I love my roommates now. I was mostly excited, I thought that the house was so nice and big and I was shocked. It was really cool getting to meet everyone when they started to come.” – Tessa Arenz

“It was exciting to move into the house and kind of weird. My first impressions of people are very different than my impressions of them now, but in a good way.” – Anna Korzeniewski

First Day
First Day

June 11, 2022 – Saturday and Sunday

Shopping
Shopping

We were taken to Kohl’s to get business casual clothing and any other type of clothing we would need throughout the program. We got slacks, dress shirts, blazers, ties. Then we went to FireLake Discount Foods and got a variety of food for the dinners that we planned to cook as a group and for breakfast and lunch like cereals, condiments, bread, deli meat, cheese, granola bars, pasta. Shopping for 12 people was a first for many of us.

House of Hints
House of Hints

When our shopping was done we did an escape room. One group finished faster and had the harder room, just saying.

Shawl Fabrics
Shawl Fabrics

In the evening, we picked out fabrics for our shawls. Our House Mom Margaret made the girls a shawl with applique, and we did the fringing ourselves. She also made us a blouse or skirt for our regalia and a ribbon shirt for the guys.

Sundays are free days. We are all able to go to church if we wish. We have chores to do and occasionally work to finish but usually we will hang out, go in the pool, play games, and take needed naps.

June 13, 2022 – Monday

Lunch with Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Lunch with Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Monday was our first day of work. We had an HR and New Hire Orientation so that we understood what it means to be an employee for the tribe. Afterward, we had lunch with the Chairman and Vice Chairman. 

Cultural Teaching

On Monday evenings we have Cultural Teaching. It is an opportunity for us to ask questions and get answers from extremely knowledgeable people. Unlike department sessions, we are able to stay in the house and get comfortable as we learn about what our ancestors went through as well as some of the traditions and culture that have been somewhat lost over the years because of forced assimilation.

“Before coming here I didn’t know much about Potawatomi culture. A lot of cultural knowledge was lost and forcibly taken away. It is wonderful to have a set time every week where someone explains culturally significant Potawatomi practices. It was a dream come true because I think that culture is really interesting and being able to connect with my culture has been incredibly powerful. Everyone here knows so much. It is wonderful hearing from them and learning about smudging, different types of dances, and history.” – Catherine Charnoky

“The extinction effort really spoke to me. I’ve written papers about the internment camps and ‘boarding schools’ native americans were sent to, but it makes it all too real when I hear about what my ancestors went through and had to survive. This I feel also connects to the near extinction of the bald eagle, encroachment of territory and foreign disease greatly affecting Native Americans and more recently bald eagles.” – Jaden Tarter

June 14, 2022 – Tuesday

We visited the Eagle Aviary and were able to hear from Jennifer and Bree who have been running the aviary for 10 years and have a wealth of knowledge about eagles and their significance to our tribe. We also had the opportunity to see the eagles walking around in the enclosure, and pet and take pictures with a buzzard.

“During this session I realized more the importance of Creation and how we must take care of our eagles and the land. Learning about the aviary and the importance of eagles reminded me of the Seven Grandfather teachings because the eagle is also a representation of those teachings and values that our tribe holds. Specifically, the teaching of respect, which applies to us respecting the land and all the animals that inhabit it. This also applies to the teaching of bravery. Eagles are a symbol of strength and CPN has been able to teach this to the tribe. CPN has reconnected our tribe to these eagles and that is a gift that will last generations.” – Tessa Arenz

June 15, 2022 – Wednesday

Language 1
Language

Every Wednesday and Friday we have language lessons with Justin and Robert. We have learned and practiced our introductions and a variety of phrases that we use around the house, like “kyenep” which means “hurry up!”

“Language lessons are so much fun! They are one of the highlights of the program. Justin and Robert create a fun atmosphere; they are always telling funny stories about the different words which makes the words memorable. It is interesting to learn about the Potawatomi world view and concepts that don’t fit into English/Potawatomi. It changes the way I see the world, like a drum sounding like a heartbeat.” – Catherine Charnoky

Moccasin Making Workshop
Moccasin Making Workshop

A former PLP counselor came to the Sharp House and taught us how to make moccasins. Like every workshop, there are some that were able to pick up on the process more quickly, but we all like to help each other through it.

“My favorite workshop was moccasins. Moccasins are now a part of my regalia so I thought it was really cool to be able to make them and then wear them, and the fact that they are tailored to you. They are a very cool thing to make.” – Tessa Arenz

June 16, 2022 – Thursday

Lunch with Elders
Lunch with Elders

Every Thursday we have lunch with the elders at the Elder Center. It gives us an opportunity to learn about their lives and hear their wisdom. We also have a great time playing bingo. 

“I think that it’s fun to talk with the elders. They have a lot of knowledge and stories to share. I’ve met a lot of interesting people who have done a lot throughout their lives. I also have a fun time playing bingo.” – Tessa Arenz

Cultural Heritage Center Tour
Cultural Heritage Center Tour

The Cultural Heritage Center is a great representation of our history and culture. We had the opportunity to hear from Kelly Mosteller before she left to teach at Harvard.

“This tour helped expand my understanding of how betrayed Native Americans were. Treaty after treaty broken, forced displacement, constant efforts to exterminate, there is a lot to learn about, with a history as blood-soaked as this. But I also think this shows why the Potawatomi are so dedicated to helping their people recover from generations of bloodshed, the Potawatomi know that as long as you stick together and fight you will survive, and that’s why they care for every last one of their members.” – Jaden Tarter

Women’s Drumming
Women’s Drumming

Every Thursday we participate in women’s drumming where we get to drum with a strong group of women and learn traditional songs for ceremonies and social circles.

Talking Circle

Each Thursday we have a talking circle. We are given questions about our identity, traditions, and goals, but when a person holds the feather they have the opportunity to speak about whatever they want and everyone else must listen. It is an opportunity for us to share and to listen in a safe and comfortable space.

“I love talking circles. During our first talking circle, Tesia mentioned that in western society the people that we hear from the most are the loudest, and the people who are quieter and more reserved aren’t heard as much. There is a set understanding during the talking circle that what is shared is safe and you are able to be vulnerable. It is a structured way that we can all get to know each other and are given really thought-provoking prompts that allow me to think about life in a new way. It also allowed me to reflect on my PLP experience, my past, future, and identity. It is comforting to know that people are listening, care, and that we’re all here to support each other and grow. Also, we can talk about heavy things.” – Catherine Charnoky

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Eligibility

 

You must meet all of the following eligibility criteria to be considered for the Potawatomi Leadership Program:

 

Program participants are selected without regard to race, color, religious creed, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. Although the only restrictions for applying are meeting the eligibility criteria listed above, please consider whether you are comfortable meeting program conditions with or without any special accommodations. The conditions of this program include but are not limited to the following:

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Details

 

Tribal members who are 18-20 years old are selected for the six-week program based on academic qualifications, a series of essays, and a letter of recommendation. Arriving before the annual Family Reunion Festival, students spend their workdays visiting tribal directors and hearing employees explain their role. Between departmental sessions, students tour tribal enterprises and attend board meetings. In the evenings and on weekends, students connect culturally by attending language classes, participating in tribal ceremonies, and learning traditional crafts. Additionally, students who have not yet received a Potawatomi name will have the opportunity to do so. By the end of the program, the students have gained a comprehensive knowledge of individual tribal components as well as how they fit into the larger puzzle of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

As potential leaders of the tribe, students not only learn how the Tribe operates but also undergo extensive leadership training. Students begin the summer by taking an assessment to discover their individual strengths, and recurring workshops help them understand how best to develop those skills. Weekly talking circles offer a space to process their experience and tackle complex issues such as the intricacies of cultural identity, the qualities of effective leadership, and the promotion of tribal engagement. Additionally, Citizen Potawatomi Nation government officials such as the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and legislators share their unique perspectives on tribal leadership with the students.

Besides attending scheduled events and sessions, Potawatomi Leadership Program participants will be expected to write three short papers. At the end of the program, students leave their own mark on the Tribe by applying this abstract knowledge to a practical project, for which they design a creative way to tangibly enhance, develop, or add to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In a final program presentation, students have the opportunity to share their final reflections and completed projects with tribal leadership. (Check out the final presentations here.)

Together, these components make up the Potawatomi Leadership Program. Students leave the program equipped with the knowledge and tools to remain engaged in the Tribe. For some, the experience will serve as preparation for future tribal governance, which strengthens the hope that the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s sound leadership will continue into future generations.

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Travel

 

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation covers the cost of round-trip travel for all program participants. Depending on where the student will be coming from, this will mean either airfare or mileage reimbursement.
Dennette Summerlin will work with the students to schedule all travel.

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Stipend

 

Participants receive a weekly scholarship of $60 as well as a $1,680 scholarship upon completion of the program.

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Local Transportation

 

When at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, local transportation will be provided. This includes all scheduled sessions and events. As a group, students may choose to seek other entertainment options such as the movies or bowling, and transportation to and from those activities will be provided when possible. However, students will not be able to bring their own vehicles to the program for any reason.

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Food

 

The Citizen Potawatomi Nation boasts a full-service grocery store near the students’ living quarters, FireLake Discount Foods. Groceries for all meals will be furnished at FireLake and covered by the Tribe. Students will shop as a group for these groceries. On most evenings, students will work together to plan and prepare meals for the entire group in the Sharp House kitchen. However, should students choose to eat out at restaurants – they will be responsible for these outside costs.

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Housing

 

During the six weeks, program participants stay together in “The Sharp House,” a spacious property owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Students will share rooms and bathrooms based on gender.
The Sharp House boasts a number of amenities, which include two large-screen televisions, a pool table, and an outdoor pool.

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Healthcare

 

All accepted students will be required to create a medical file with the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Clinic. As tribal members, the students can visit this clinic and
receive medical attention at no cost to them if any medical issues should arise during their stay.

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Professional Development
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Eligibility

 

You must meet all of the following eligibility criteria to be considered for the Potawatomi Leadership Program:

 

Program participants are selected without regard to race, color, religious creed, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin. Although the only restrictions for applying are meeting the eligibility criteria listed above, please consider whether you are comfortable meeting program conditions with or without any special accommodations. The conditions of this program include but are not limited to the following:

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