Introducing ta’saawanwaatoweeyakwe (“Where We Speak Shawnee”)

Welcome to ta’saawanwaatoweeyakweThis new blog series is dedicated to the Shawnee Language Immersion Program’s happenings and language preservation work. To kick things off, we’re highlighting SLIP’s new Master-Apprentice Program. 

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In January, the Tribe received a three-year grant to support the development of a Master-Apprentice program which pairs advanced Shawnee speakers with language learners to strengthen fluency, provide opportunities to use the Shawnee language in every-day life, and engage saawanooki [Shawnee people] through community initiatives.

This year, three kciteelatakki [masters] were selected to mentor six kciteelemoofocki [apprentices] using immersion techniques, land-based outings, and cultural activities. kciteelemoofocki in turn will share the knowledge they’ve learned in the program with the community and language students. The program is designed to foster community connection, support cultural knowledge and language sharing, and center Shawnee ways of being.

Get to know the kciteeletakki and kciteelemoofocki better by reading their introductions below!


My name is Fafiyakisimo and I am roundfoot clan. I am from the Absentee Shawnee. Now I am 79 years old. niya’ki Lakiisiimo is my father’s name. niya’ki Matiwaapama is my mother’s name. I have three brothers and four sisters. I live with Kcitawapiyeci and her son near the town called Miami. I am trying to carry on the Shawnee language and protect how we speak as my work. I always enjoy playing what white people call “Bingo”. When I was young, I didn’t speak any English, I only spoke Shawnee. That is all we should speak. I am just teaching Shawnee. I hope everyone will speak Shawnee.


Hello! My name is Pelowikapoosi but I am called Bri, I am Shawnee of the Shawnee Tribe and horse clan. A long time ago, my family came from Vinita. Today, my dad lives in Okmulgee and my mom lives in Idaho. My older brother is named Robert, my first younger sibling is named Josiah, my second younger sibling is named Joshua, and my sister is named Elisha. Two cats and I live together in Tulsa. I often like to go hiking, visit with friends, and listen to music. CUNY, Graduate Center is where I learn. I manage the Living Languages Grant where I am a language master and where I teach. I’m happy to receive my Shawnee language so that all Shawnees will be strengthened.


Hello Shawnees. My name is Anastasia Miller-Youst and I am a Master. I am 27 years old. My father’s name is Gary Miller-Youst and he is from Colorado. My mother’s name is Karen Miller-Youst and she is from California. I have one older sister and one older brother. My older sister is named Tatiana and my older brother is named Gabriel. I am from Oregon and California but now I live in Houston, Texas with my husband EJ Nunez and our two cats and our dog. My older sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces and one nephew also live in Houston, Texas. My older brother and my mother live in Ohio but my father still lives in California. I like to swim like a mermaid and go hiking in forests and hills. University of California, Berkeley, is where I studied linguistics. Now I protect how we speak as my job. I have been taking care of Shawnee for six years so that Shawnees will always speak Shawnee.


Hello my friends! My name is Daniel Citty, but when I talk Shawnee I’m called Nakaacepto. I’m Canadian (Absentee) Shawnee of Little Axe and I’m 27 years old. Claremore, near the Verdigris River, that’s where I was born. Now my wife and our baby daughter we all live together in a town called Mcalester. I always like to fish nearby in the lake, Eufaula. I’m not good at fishing however, I just really like sitting in the wilderness. Also my wife and I do yoga together if our baby daughter permits us. I started learning Shawnee when I was little, there wasn’t a school of Shawnee language when I was little, however. Now I’m an apprentice, I’m very happy and I feel proud as well. I started learning Shawnee language because I want to teach my children and other people as well. However it wasn’t easy before I went to school. I want to move all over among Shawnee so that we can talk to each other. Until then, I’ll have to drive when we do bread dance!


Hello, my name is Mikala Hill. I’m from Whiteoak Ceremonial Ground and I’m horse clan. I’m enrolled with the Shawnee Tribe. My mom is Stephanie Willock and my grandma is Julie Dick Whitetree. I’m 29. I live in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. I enjoy sewing ribbon skirts and stompdancing with my husband Jayce. I’ve been learning Shawnee for 5 years. I’m a language apprentice. I’m learing Shawnee because I want to speak Shawnee at the stompground and understand what they say.


Hello everyone, my name is Mokipiyesika but I am called Mason Hudson. I am from Adair, Oklahoma. I am thirty two years old. My father’s name is Tim Hudson and my mother’s name is Andrea Hudson. Now I live in Pryor, Oklahoma with my wife and my dog and we are expecting a baby boy in July! We are very excited. I always enjoy running and I work as an engineer. I have been learning Shawnee for nine years and I have been teaching Shawnee for four years. I am learning Shawnee for my family.


Hello everyone! Kisi’kaapto is my name but I am known as Dillon Dean. I am an apprentice. I come from White Oak Ceremony Grounds. I hope I speak Shawnee well! I’ve gone to Shawnee language school for two years. I am learning Shawnee because it was my Grandma’s wish. Now, that’s come true! I live with my Grandma and my dog, Bones. I have a brother but he’s not Shawnee. I lived in Los Angeles for seven years but now I live in Okay, Oklahoma. I like it here. Acting is what I do for work. You might have seen me on your television. I like to sing. Let’s sing together! I like sweets. I always eat affagato. I am lucky to be Shawnee. I speak Shawnee because it connects me to all we come from. So that I hear our ancestors’ songs and prayers. Just like my grandmother, our ancestors are happy we are trying! Our language makes me Shawnee.


Hello, my name is Haapetapiyekaka. I am called Steve Roach. I am turtle clan. Back then my grandfather lived where the Neosho River came into Oklahoma when he was young. His mother was named Annabelle Blackfish. Then my family moved to Wisconsin when my grandfather was a young man. My father was born there. From there he went to Virginia. Over there he met my mother then I was born. Now I live in Iowa City. My wife is named Silvia. She comes from the island of Sardinia in Italy. We have two children. We call one Lila. The other is named Eloisa. I like to hike and make bread. I have studied Shawnee for five years. I would like one day for there to be a place to speak Shawnee for all of us.


Hello Shawnees. My name is Terry Hinsley. I live in San Diego and am from the White Oak grounds. My family comes from Vinita and White Oak. I am 47 years old. I live with my two daughters and wife. I enjoy singing Indian songs. Before working with the Shawnee language school I used to travel near and far to sing and make people dance. I cherish our Shawnee language very much and really enjoy learning it. I think it’s important that all Shawnee speak Shawnee. I’m happy we can learn our Shawnee language. I’d like to thank all teachers and our old folks for taking care of our Shawnee language and our way of life. Let’s help each other speak Shawnee!


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