Potawatomi Band selects Mango Languages to develop course to teach critically endangered Potawatomi language

(Image: Mango Languages)

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi elevate the teaching methodology of their language to reach a wider audience among Potawatomi citizens

News Release

Mango Languages

Award-winning Mango Languages, one of the most popular language-learning systems in America’s academic institutions, corporations, government agencies, and public libraries, is embarking on a language course development project in partnership with the Pokegon band of Potawatomi to help preserve their language and culture. Listed as “critically endangered” by UNESCO, the language is nearly extinct with fewer than a dozen native speakers of Potawatomi left. Mango Languages will construct a language course intended to help preserve the spoken Potawatomi language, as well as create an accessible platform to teach the language to current and future generations of Potawatomi.

“The goal is to be able to use the end product as a means to provide language learning access to tribal citizens beyond our 10-county service area,” said Rhonda Purcell, Language Program Manager, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi. “We offer classes right now at Hartford High School and at Southwestern Michigan College. But we have Pokagon citizens who live in Mexico, Colorado, California, Florida, and Maine, who have an inherited right to be able to learn our language, but because our resources are minimal, we can’t send our instructors to those places. But with Mango Languages, [we can access] the language from anywhere. It’s going to be a huge resource for us and the tribal citizens who are attending our school programs, in order to be able to fully grasp the language,” Purcell continued.  

Citizens of the Pokagon Band, based in Dowagiac, Michigan, reached out to Mango Languages directly to see if they would be interested in working together. Mango’s CEO immediately gave the project a green light and is personally involved in getting the initiative into development. 

“As a life-long lover of languages myself, I’m personally very honored to work with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi and be a part of preserving their heritage, using the Mango Languages platform,” said Mango Languages CEO Jason Teshuba. “This initiative goes beyond preservation of this native language and will be designed to teach the language using Mango’s proven language acquisition methodologies.” 

Language teachers, linguists, and language specialists from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi will work with a team of linguists and developers from Mango Languages to ensure all elements of the language are accurately articulated and represented in the Mango program. This includes instruction on its unique grammatical structures, vocabulary, and cultural traditions. This course will also include the new Listening & Reading Activities, launched earlier this year for Mango’s most popular courses, which will include recordings of narratives and dialogues that are rooted in the practical, everyday use of the Potawatomi language and culture.  

According to Purcell, the Potawatomi Language Program was searching for a platform to help structure a methodical process for teaching and learning and approached Mango after extensive research. The program instructors need a system that will assist with lesson planning as well as help assess students’ progression through proficiency levels to ultimately determine fluency, an area in which the Mango platform excels, making them a well-suited partner. “This is a huge endeavor for us, and we’re excited to move through the process with Mango Languages to create a better way for people to learn Potawatomi,” said Purcell. 

Mango Languages and the Pokagon Band expect to release a first chapter of lessons by early November. This will become the second Native American language offered by Mango, which currently offers a Cherokee language course.

About Mango Languages

Headquartered in Detroit, Mango Languages is the award-winning language-training resource for individuals and organizations around the world. On a mission to inspire curious people to forge deeper connections and meaningful interactions, Mango is the only adaptive language-learning system powered by proven methodologies and presents language-specific learning content designed to establish retention and rapidly build conversation skills. To learn more about how Mango prepares you to start the conversation in another language, visit mangolanguages.com, or follow @mangolanguages on Twitter.  

About The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi 

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians’ sovereignty was reaffirmed under legislation signed into law by President Clinton in September 1994. The Pokagon Band is dedicated to providing community development initiatives such as cultural preservation, housing, education, family services, and health care and for its approximately 5,700 citizens. The Pokagon Band’s ten-county service area includes four counties in Southwestern Michigan and six in Northern Indiana. Its main administrative offices are located in Dowagiac, Mich., with a satellite office in South Bend, Ind. The tribe owns and operates four Four Winds casino properties and a variety of business via Mno-Bmadsen, the tribe’s non-gaming investment enterprise. More information is available at www.pokagonband-nsn.gov, www.fourwindscasino.com and www.mno-bmadsen.com.

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