Cleveland County Woman Trains Dog To Understand Potawatomi Language


Wednesday, December 9th 2020, 6:29 pm
By: Jennifer Pierce


A Cleveland County woman found a unique way to train her dog and keep history alive. Ragan Marsee taught her four-legged friend “Blue” to understand commands from the Potawatomi language.

Blue’s owner teaches babies and children the Potawatomi language. Marsee said it was only natural to teach her fur baby the language.

“Blue, Byan shode,” said Marsee, dog’s owner.

Marsee has been speaking to Blue in her tribal tongue since she brought her home as a pup. The high-energy dog knows when it is time to sit.

“Jibteben means to sit or to sit down,” said Marsee. “You see she’s already listening.”

And when it is time to calm down.

“Dokem, which means be peaceful or be quiet,” said Marsee. “Which I use with the kids a lot when teaching. So, it comes in handy with rambunctious dogs.”

When Marsee is not at her family's farm in Noble, you can find her in the classroom. Marsee is a language aid for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her job is to keep the native language alive through future generations.

“Our whole goal in the language department is to revitalize the language and bring it back to the people,” said Marsee. “For me, the language is like puzzle pieces. The more I learn the more I feel in place and understood.”

She accomplished that through her four-legged companion. Marsee said Blue caught on to simple commands rather quickly.

“She’s young and she is wanting to do good. So, she always listens really well,” said Marsee.

Now, Blue hangs on to her every word.

“Bozho’a means shake hands,” said Marsee. “Gnech ashteck means next hand.”

Her unique teaching has caught on. Marsee said her social media and YouTube followers have seen her posts and it has inspired others to follow her lead.

“I was commanding her in the language and that got a lot of questions,” said Marsee. “It kind of took off from there.”

To learn more about the Potawatomi language visit the Citizen Potawatomi Nation’s website.