Potawatomi Language

The Potawatomi language is an Algonquian language closely related to the Ojibwayan dialect complex.

It has about 50 first-language speakers in several widely separated communities in the US and Canada.

These include the Hannahville Indian Community (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), the Pokagon and Huron Bands (southern Michigan), the Forest County Band (northern Wisconsin), the Prairie Band (eastern Kansas), and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma.

A few Potawatomi speakers also live among the Eastern Ojibwe in Ontario, particularly at the Walpole Island Reserve. The largest speech communities are in the Forest County and Prairie Bands, each with about 20 speakers, several conservatively fluent.

A master-apprentice program in which a “language student (the language apprentice) will be paired with fluent Potawatomi speakers (the language masters)” was scheduled to begin in January 2013.

Classes in the Potowatomi language are available, including those at the Hannahville summer immersion camp, with webcast instruction and video conferencing.


Carolina Algonquian (United States) (also known as Pamlico, Pamtico, Pampticough, Christianna Algonquian) †
Central Algonquian(23)

Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi (9)

Atikamekw (Canada)
Moose Cree (Canada)
Northern East Cree (Canada)
Plains Cree (Canada)
Southern East Cree (Canada)
Swampy Cree (Canada)
Woods Cree (Canada)
Montagnais (Canada)
Naskapi (Canada)

Ojibwa (8)

Algonquin (Canada)
Chippewa (United States)
Central Ojibwa (Canada)
Eastern Ojibwa(Canada)
Northwestern Ojibwa (Canada)
Severn Ojibwa (Canada)
Western Ojibwa (Canada)
Ottawa (Canada)

Kickapoo (United States)
Menominee (United States)
Meskwaki (United States)
Miami (United States) (aka Illinois and Illinois-Miami) (Officially extinct but a revitalization program is in progress since an extensive dictionary exists)
Potawatomi (United States)
Shawnee (United States)

Potawatomi Language Resources:

Potawatomi Pronunciation and Spelling Guide
The Neshnabe Institute for Cultural Studies – Dedicated to Potawatomi Language Revitalization
Prairie Band Potawatomi Language Project Smokey McKinney, 1997
Prairie Band Potawatomi Language Department
Citizen Potawatomi Department of Language